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Re-energizing Your Relationship

Whether you’ve been seeing someone for a while, are living with a partner or have been married for a while, you may seek ways to improve your relationship but may not be able to do so actively. With multiple responsibilities and the fast pace of our lives, it’s understandable why your relationship might feature lower on your priority list. Nonetheless, relationships require ongoing care. Maintaining a relationship is not just about staying together with your partner, but it also involves actively working to keep the relationship evolving.   

Doing routine tasks for your partners, like preparing a meal, choosing to buy groceries, helping with dishes, dropping them at work etc., are important and valuable. However, what’s also important is to be intentional about the effort, attention, and work that one puts into a relationship, i.e., using specific maintenance strategies. Research dedicated to studying the science of relationships indicates that one can apply several methods to improve a relationship that has reached a plateau stage.  

Here are some signs that indicate the need to use maintenance strategies in a relationship: 

  1. Differences in thinking about a situation have caused one or both partners to express dislike about the relationship.
  2. Particular topics are avoided by one or both partners in the hope to escape an argument.
  3. Positive interactions and experiences in the relationship have declined over time.
  4. Communication tends to be limited to fewer topics that are important and necessary.
  5. Partners primarily engage in hobbies, interests and ‘fun’ activities outside of the relationship.

If you can relate to any of these signs, you may try the following strategies in your relationship to make it stronger:  


Giving Assurance  

Feeling safe, secure, and sure about the future is a basic human need. When partners are given this safety, through verbal assurances of love and commitment, it can help them feel more fulfilled.  

Tips you can try:  

  • Show verbal affection- Say “I love you” “I miss you”, use special nicknames, and convey how important your partner is to you. 
  • Discuss future events and the commitment you have to make them possible.
  • Reassure your partner of the role you can take in the present and future.
  • Do things actively that show your concern for your partner, for instance, volunteer to do a task for them or gift them a day at the spa after a long work week.  

Conflict Management  

Having disagreements and wanting to resolve them is natural. However, when a conflict is handled constructively, relationships benefit from healthy communication, transparency, and a reliable, stable environment that both partners can fall back on.  

Tips you can try:  

  • In case of a conflict, first, ask yourself why you’re upset; what triggered your negative feelings at the moment. 
  • Discuss one issue at a time.
  • Convey the reason for you being upset by saying, “I feel _____.”. For instance, “I feel neglected when you come back home late”, instead of, “You always do this. You are never home.”  
  • Take turns talking. Take time to listen to your partner when they’re talking, and not just wait to give a ‘good’ response to them. 
  • Take a break from discussing the issue if things get too heated. 
  • Attempt to reach a compromise.
  • Avoid degrading language and yelling. 

Practising Openness  

Being able to express one’s opinion freely can help one avoid feeling frustrated and irritable in a relationship. Being open could also encourage one’s partner to be more expressive. This can create a space for both partners to be genuine and sincere with each other.  

Tips you can try:  

  • Discuss the details of your day with each other.
  • Talk about how you feel about the relationship.  
  • Disclose your fears and your needs to each other. 
  • Encourage each other to express your opinions.  
  • Discuss all the goals that both of you may have.  

Prioritising Positive Moments  

Each individual is likely to strive for situations and experiences that seem pleasurable. In other words, when something feels good, one would want to have a lot more of it. Hence, pleasant memories with one’s partner would reinforce the need to spend more time together.   

Tips you can try  

  • Incorporate both your and your partner’s interests in your weekend plans. It will be something to look forward to. 
  • Find movies, TV shows and games that you both find interesting.
  • Take some time out in the day to be with each other.
  • While spending time with your partner, try not to get distracted by other tasks and responsibilities.   

Having A Shared Circle of Friends  

Having common friends can help a couple have more pleasant experiences together. Apart from enjoying one’s partner’s public persona, being able to fall back on a common support system can bring a couple closer.  

Tips you can try:  

  • Experiment with different friends – try having meals and going to other events together.
  • Plan outings that require more people – a class, a workshop, a picnic or a trek. 
  • Have a quiet evening at home with friends, where you’re able to relax and have a good conversation.  

Sharing Tasks  

Partners are likely to feel satisfied when they sense fairness in the relationship. When they feel like both their efforts and benefits are equal, they’re likely to feel more motivated.  

Tips you can try  

  • Discuss roles and responsibilities and whether they are equitably distributed. 
  • Discuss ‘benefits’ and ‘efforts’ specific to both partners in the relationship, see if there are other expectations that aren’t being met.  
  • In case of days when either partner is ill or tired, try discussing backup plans for specific tasks.  

Do remember that each relationship’s needs differ based on the life stage of that relationship. Therefore, depending on the stage you are in, you may use any of these strategies to build a thriving relationship with your partner. 

If you would like to discuss this further or need some help or support in this or any other area, our counsellors would be happy to help.

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