Earlier this week we talked about conversation strategies to reduce tension. If one of your goals of the new year is to strengthen your relationship, we have some tips for you from a psychology expert. Here are seven research-supported ways to strengthen your relationship this year.
- Maintain a successful mindset. Our mindset on issues and circumstances greatly affects our success in facing them. Create a mindset where you focus on the positives of your relationship, even during difficult times. Using this positive mindset to address issues in your relationship will help you maintain an optimistic outlook and develop empathy for your partner.
- Be optimistic. Speaking of optimism, a 2020 research study found that partners who are optimistic about the future are more effectively able to manage relationship conflict. No relationship is without speed bumps, but maintaining an optimistic outlook will better help you address them.
- Increase psychological flexibility. Creating a mindset where you are open to change allows you to handle the inevitable curveballs that any relationship will throw you. Be open to altering your behaviors for the better. Just because you have always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.
- Remember it’s okay to put yourself first. If you’re not happy on your own, you will not be satisfied in a partnership. It’s normal to make compromises in a relationship, but don’t forget to prioritize what’s important to you. Make time for self-care, explore your passions, and remember to develop your friendships and interests outside of your relationship. If you are happy and healthy independently, your relationship will benefit from this stability.
- Do something for your partner. There’s a reason one of the five ‘love languages’ is ‘acts of service.’ Prioritizing your partner can make you feel closer to them. This doesn’t have to be something huge. It can be as simple as grabbing them a coffee on your morning walk or giving them a foot rub after a long day.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. So many resolutions revolve around strict diet and fitness goals, but the basis of a great partnership is not what you look like on the outside, but how you feel on the inside and act towards others. Motivating each other to stay healthy is great, but remember you don’t have to meet lofty body image goals to be worthy of love and fulfillment.
- Maintain physical touch. Researchers have found that initiating physical touch in a relationship boosts personal and partner satisfaction. Physical touch is an important part of the human experience and what allows many of us to feel connected to those around us. At a time when the human touch is very limited, remember to show affection to your partner and initiate this contact. It’s easy to get wrapped up in daily tasks, but a simple handhold or kiss before work can make all the difference.
74 percent of Americans reported setting goals for the new year. Our relationships are often some of the most important aspects of our lives, so why not invest in a happier partnership in 2021? These strategies don’t only apply to romantic relationships. They can also be used to improve friendships and family relations for overall better ties with those around us in 2021.