7 things you and your partner can do to strengthen your relationship

Adjusting from an ‘I/mine’ to a ‘we/ours’ way of life takes a lot of work.

When you get married or form a serious, romantic partnership, everything changes. You intertwine your life with somebody else’s and become a team as I becomes we and mine becomes ours. Life as you know it comes to an end and it often takes a lot of time before people can adjust to this new normal. However, looking through a ‘we/ours’ lens is key in making a relationship work.

Therefore, rather than taking a look at what you can do to strengthen your relationship, take a look at the 7 things you and your partner can do:

1. Create your own rituals:

This is a commonly suggested tip for strengthening your relationship and reconnecting with your partner. Creating your own rituals refers to coming up with anything that you do on a regular basis and both enjoy. This can be something as simple as a Taco Tuesday dinner or Salsa Saturday night out dancing.

2. Check-in regularly:

Sari Harrar makes an excellent point of noting that relationships should adopt a certain practice which businesses adopt: holding team meetings to check in. Obviously, a check-in with your loved one will be a lot more exciting than a corporate meeting. It is important to regularly set a few minutes aside to talk about your feelings and any possible concerns you or your partner may have.

3. Ask yourselves: ‘How will this affect our marriage/relationship?”:

To reiterate, once you intertwine your life with somebody else’s, the “I/mine” lens no longer works. When faced with a big and difficult decision, try to ask yourself this question: ‘How will this affect our marriage/relationship?” This does not mean neglecting how it will affect you and similarly, it does not suggest only focusing on how it will affect your partner. By asking how something will affect the relationship, you are ultimately keeping both of you in mind.

4. Set your priorities straight:

Prioritizing a marriage/relationship is difficult but necessary. Many people struggle to break away from the idea that their family of origin comes first. For this reason, a lot of the times, relationships suffer as people prioritize their friends and family of origin over their partners. Often, newlyweds and cohabitants struggle as problems with prioritization affect boundaries. For instance, even if your partner loves your friends/family of origin, they might not want them around the house every hour of every day.

5. Encourage and support one another:

Being each other’s very own cheerleaders is extremely important. It is to be expected that from time to time one – or even both – of you will not feel their best. When your partner feels down, demotivated and overcome with self-doubt, it is important to have their back and cheer them on (obviously, this is true vice versa).

6. Plan your week in the following way:

When you sit down on the weekend, pull out a calendar and plan the week ahead, do you put down work, meetings, doctor appointments and coffee dates with friends before dates with your partner? Most probably. This circles back to keeping your priorities straight; do not leave your marriage/relationship until the end when you have a 30 minute slot left in your calendar. Pencil in your date nights first!

7. Leave the job at work:

Today, it has become almost impossible not to take your work home with you; how could you not when you have a smartphone, a laptop and Internet at home? It is important that you and your partner both make a note of how much your jobs affect your relationship and whether or not you need certain boundaries put in place.

Ultimately, there is nothing more important than the people we love and the relationships we build with them. Take the time, put in effort and love deeply.

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