13 Expert Relationship Tips I Stole From Mind Body Green
Thank you mbg, for showing us how to relationship right.
I came across this gem of an article last week, 13 Tips on How to Have a Good, Healthy Relationship, written by a therapist with 10+ years of experience working with couples.
Allison Cohen, the insightful relationship secret revealer, says the *key* to a good relationship centers around being communicative and proactive. Sounds easy enough.
Why then, do we suck so badly at keeping our relationships intact? Keeping them exciting feels far-fetched enough.
So what gives? Do we simply not want to make an effort because it’s another thing piled on our to-do list? Do we think our relationships are going to work themselves out? Are we just lazy?
While I believe our expectations on relationships and marriages are (for the most part) quite unrealistic, I do think most established relationships have the potential to be fabulous.
That said, we have to put in the work on anything worth putting in the work for — just like we do with our careers and our self-bettering journeys.
Here are the tips.
#1 Do the things you did the first year you were dating
I love this one. Jake and I’s first year of love was my favorite because we were in my favorite city — Chicago — going to Irish pubs and piano bars, playing on the beach, and ordering deep dish pizzas on Sundays.
Why was it the best? Because everything was new. We were living in a perpetual state of no responsibility. The only thing that mattered was being together and having a good time.
Bring back the newness of your honeymoon stage, whatever that looks like for you.
#2 Ask for what you want
This is so dead simple, yet we waste so much time playing mind games or getting annoyed at our partners for not reading our minds.
A big thing for me was having a set, uninterrupted time to work during quarantine (please God don’t let another lockdown happen). Because I wasn’t ASKING for a set, uninterrupted time to work, I wasn’t receiving it. So, I asked. And then I received.
Just ask for what you want. And be specific.
#3 Become an expert on your partner
I have a saved notes section in my phone with the type of sandwiches Jake likes because he is annoyingly particular about his sandwiches. Oven roasted turkey? Nope, too slimy. PEPPER TURKEY? Sign him up. Dry and spicy.
After I had a child, my memory was shot to hell, so I have around 200 different note categories in my phone with ridiculous things like this. The point is that it makes your partner feel seen, loved and appreciated.
#4 Ask questions beyond just, “How was your day?”
I think we’re all guilty of this. At the end of the day, we’re tired, we’re hungry, and we don’t want to talk to anyone. Creating new conversation is such a fun way to talk about something else other than what you’re going to have for dinner or what your plans are for the weekend.
Spice up your convos. Save the “How was your day?” question for someone else.
#5 Create a weekly ritual to check in with each other
At first glance, this might look like just another thing to add to your already jam-packed lives. But the irony is, if we don’t do this, we just invite more stress and anxiety into our weeks.
My girlfriend and her husband are masters at this. They carve out a 2-hour window every Wednesday evening after their baby goes to sleep to have a glass of wine on their porch and talk about whatever they want and need to talk about.
#6 Keep it sexy
I don’t know about you, but to me? Marriage isn’t sexy. Maybe that’s why so many people are commitment phobes. The word “marriage” doesn’t sound sexy, and a typical day in the life of marriage isn’t sexy.
What is the solution? We have to make it sexy. In the same don’t-get-fit-stay-fit concept I like to preach, the same goes for our relationships. Don’t wait for it to become stale.
In sum? Physical attractions fade. Keep some mystery and intrigue.
#7 Get creative about the time you spend together
This is especially the case after children have come in and ruined (sorry, blessed?) your relationship.
Netflix and chill is necessary and enjoyable — I understand this. But don’t have that be the norm every single night or every weekend.
Pandemic life has forced us to become creative with our time, so take advantage. Pinterest is also loaded with free & cheap date ideas. Look them up and give them a whirl.
#8 Get it on
Enough said here.
#9 Take a (mental) vacation, every day
This one is important. When your husband is trying to talk to you about some family matter or issue with work, you need to actually listen. Not scroll through Instagram while nodding your head along.
Stop and listen, putting yourself in your partner’s shoes.
#10 Take “fight breaks” when you need them
We’re not the scream at each other, slamming doors kind of arguers, so I can’t particularly relate to this one. However, our fights can be maddening because one or both of us will shut down, which does nothing but exacerbate the problem.
Whatever your couple fighting style is, try to do it more productively.
#11 When in conflict, dig deep to unearth your true feelings
I don’t know why being vulnerable is so hard for us humans. I really don’t. Vulnerability is what brings people together. Ask Brene Brown. Watch her Ted Talks and read her books. She is so relatable and knowledgeable on why we feel the way we do.
If you really have trouble opening up (looking mostly at you, guys), seek therapy. Everyone who has gone to marriage or couples counseling and told me about it has praised it.
It isn’t weak to ask for help. It’s stupid not to.
#12 Seek to understand, not agree
The first thing that came to me when I read this one was, “I pretend to agree sometimes to avoid a fight.”
When we take a second to figure out why our partner is behaving a certain way, we become way less defensive in working toward a solution.
#13 Make your apology count
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Apologize after you’ve been harsh or hurtful, learn from it, and don’t do it again.
Relationship Tip Wrap-Up
There you have it, gals. I hope you found these helpful.
My personal two cents on keeping your relationship happy is to not take things so seriously (or personally).
If you’re someone that gets very caught up in schedules and timing and “WE NEED TO DO THIS’S!!!” try and chill out. Take some CBD. On the contrary, if you’re someone who is just laissez faire about everything, care more. Life, like your relationship, deserves passion.
The trick is finding the balance.
As always, thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this article (and you like this newsletter in general), please forward it to your friends.
Happy Thursday! It’s officially sweatshirt weather and I’m in an extremely good vibe state of mind rolling into this Fall weekend. I’m giving you a style insider post next week on where to get fun & colorful sweaters that are both soft-as-clouds and inexpensive.