Like most people in a relationship, from time to time you will try different things to make your relationship work well. You may make changes on a grand scale hoping to see quick results. You may find yourself feeling disappointed when your efforts don’t seem to bring the results you hoped for. If you want the best out of your love relationship, focus on these small steps. 

Make Your Relationship Work By Improving Communication 

Improving how you communicate is helpful to make your relationship work well. Without realizing it, you and your partner may have developed habitual and unhealthy communication patterns. Despite your desire and efforts to communicate more effectively, you find yourself falling back into all too familiar arguments that leave you thinking, “This is useless, things will never change.”

 The first step to changing how you communicate involves ensuring that the atmosphere is right. Specifically, it is important that both you and your partner feel safe and comfortable as you listen to and share with each other. You can accomplish this if you maintain emotional calm and you handle the conversation in a rational manner. 

Here are the steps to help you with this: 

Step 1:

Maintain your calm by paying close attention to your emotional reactions.

Step 2:
The moment you notice yourself entertaining any negative thoughts or emotions, acknowledge it to yourself. In your mind you may say, “I notice I am thinking or feeling                                      .”¹

Step 3:
Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply

Step 4:
Check your emotions again. Are you at a place that you can listen to and speak to your partner in an open, non-judgmental manner? If so proceed with the conversation making an effort to listen so that you can understand your partner’s perspective on the issue.

If you are not emotionally ready to have an open non-judgmental conversation, then it would be better to take a timeout so that you can calm down. After you are calm, you may try speaking with your partner at a later time.

Make Your Relationship Work By Keeping Your Love Alive 

Keeping your love alive is critical to making your relationship work well. By taking small steps to nurture your relationship. It is almost a guarantee that the feeling of love will become stale over time if you do not make the effort to keep it vibrant.

Schedule regular date nights with your partner. Keep it interesting by planning novel activities: take a cooking class together, go mountain biking, or go kayaking.  Keep a list of fun activities you may want to try and when it’s time to plan a date, pick an item on your list.

One of the most important ways of nurturing your relationship is to find opportunities to show and express your appreciation to your partner. When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it’s very easy to become complacent and to take your partner for granted. A small step for showing your appreciation is to pay attention throughout your day and identify at least one thing about your partner that you appreciate. Let your partner know – say it directly, send a text, share an image, write a note or express it in some other creative way.

By focusing on these small steps, you can make great strides in maintaining the love in your relationship. The steps can also help to reignite the spark in a relationship that has grown cold. As Prince Ea stated in his video “Before You Get Married”, it’s the “small moments of our lives that take up the biggest part of our hearts”.

¹Harris, R. (2011). The Confidence Gap. Boston, MA: Trumpeter