Good, rocky or somewhere in the middle, every relationship can benefit from tips, techniques and resources to help keep your relationship strong. Hey, even Casanova needed advice from time to time.
We've rounded up some useful tips for you and your partner:
- Work on communication skills. Great relationships are built on even better communication. Make an effort to really listen to each other and share both positive and negative feelings to keep the environment honest and open. Sure beats weeks of resentment until one day you snap at your partner over something totally minor. Tip: Schedule 10 minutes to touch base with your partner daily.
- Go on a date. Keep things fresh and interesting by asking your partner out on a date. It doesn't have to be anything too crazy or complicated — unless they're into that — but breaking out of your comfort zone and doing something fun every once in a while will do wonders for your relationship.
Tip: Visit some reviews websites to find cool restaurants and other activities around you. Be a tourist in your own neighborhood.
- Do regular maintenance. Don't be afraid to take the pulse of your relationship every once in a while to really examine what's working, what isn't and what you both can do to strengthen your connection. Your relationship doesn't always need to be some overwhelming, emotional tour de force; maybe Romeo and Juliet would've worked out if they toned down the passion for one minute to discuss their future.
Tip: We all know absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Make sure you're spending time apart — girls' night out, boys' night in — to give each other space, be better-rounded and have an opportunity to miss the other person.
- Plan surprises for each other. Take turns planning dates or other surprises to keep your relationship exciting. You could rent some kayaks, get concert tickets for your partner's favorite band, or turn your dining area into a fancy restaurant to wine and dine your partner when getting home from work. It doesn't have to be that complicated, of course, but any gesture big or small will go a long way.
Tip: Use the internet as inspiration — hunt down deals for fun activities, local attractions and reviews of interesting restaurants — then keep a list so you'll always have an idea up your sleeve.
- Take a relationship class. No matter how much of a burning, undying passion you two share for each other, occasionally things are going to get tough; that's the reality of being in a relationship. But relationships aren't a new invention, either. People have been getting into and out of them for quite some time now. Couples classes are a fantastic way to learn from others, and plus, going to a class together shows you're both willing to work for your relationship.
Tip: Ask family and close friends about their experiences, recommendations or local resources.
- Be active together. The old saying goes, "People in love lie around and get fat." Don't end up like that. Exercise with your partner. It'll be good for both of you in a variety of ways: not only is it something fun to do, but you'll both be healthier and feel better about yourselves, which goes a surprisingly — or perhaps not — long way in how people act in a relationship.
Tip: Look for local sports clubs or dance classes. It'll be fun to see your partner active, jumping or flailing or dancing, and it'll give you a chance to be silly together.
If you still need more inspiration or you could use a little bit of help finding classes or other activities in your area, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or visit your Military and Family Support Center to start putting the spark back in your relationship. Your installation chaplain and Family Advocacy Program are also great sources of information.