We have learned over the past few decades that the best way to keep our bodies healthy longer is to exercise regularly. It is the repetitive nature of this sort of practice that pays long term dividends. We are also learning this is true for relationships, especially our couples and our marriages.
But what sort of “calisthenics” can be helpful? If you are patient and persistent, daily practices or exercises can help you stay healthy and grow together. You don’t have to do them all, but a few each day will make you feel more like a healthy couple.
Here Are 15 Daily Practices You Might Consider:
1. Remember the vision you have for your relationship.
Sit down and create an idea of how you want to be as a couple. Think of it as a mantra or a theme song. Try out a few like “we are a loving couple” or “we are happy together.” Find one that makes you both smile or laugh. Say it daily for a few weeks and then change it if you like. It is a declaration of who you are together. Saying it reminds you of your joint commitment.
2. Acknowledge each other.
Say something every day that you appreciate about your partner. Even a small thing allows you to feel like your partner is paying attention and is grateful for being with you. It can be a thank you or a statement of an aspect of your partner that you really like. “Honey, I love how you look in the morning.” or “I love that you got up early to make coffee this morning.”
3. Check in about your needs and your partner’s needs.
Just ask, “Is there something you need today that I can help with?” or “I could use some help with the kids today.”
4. Make requests and offers.
Take some time to make a request of your partner or offer to help them in some way. It doesn’t have to be something they necessarily need, but just an act of generosity. Remember that you don’t have to do this every day, but it is nice to be in a giving mood sometimes, or just to give yourself permission to ask for something.
5. Take time to share and communicate about your feelings.
This might take some practice. Try to say something about how you feel each day, not like a complaint but like an inventory of what is going on emotionally for you. It will allow you to feel closer to your partner. It doesn’t require any action. It is just a statement that doesn’t require fixing anything, just listen to each other. You might want to consider doing this at night after the day is done.
6. Be a “team” about something every day/Acknowledge your accomplishments.
Plan something to work on for your couple each day, and then celebrate whatever you are able to get done. You may have finished a big project, responded to a crisis, or just had fun hanging out. Be present to what your couple accomplished that day, and say it out loud. Make a toast to your victory, or go out for a celebratory drink or meal.
7. Nurture yourself every day.
You will be more fun to be with if you are happier and more content. If you feel better, your partner will likely feel better as well. Making your partner happy is important for both of you. It makes their job easier, and you get to feel good as well. Check-in with each other at the end of the day and report what you did to nurture yourself. Share with each other what you plan to do the next day.
8. Create a connection with others you both care about every day.
Be with other people as a couple, especially other couples. It can create opportunities to laugh, to see how others deal with things you deal with and to share some fun. Plan or make contact with someone every day, if possible.
9. Share a dream together–daydream or night dream.
Think about the future, something you might like to do or be in the future, near or distant. Maybe it’s, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a dog?” or someday, when the kids are grown, we might be able to sleep in together.” And try sharing your night dreams in the morning when you remember them. It only takes a few minutes, and it is a nice way to have some intimate connection.
10. Stay in touch with each other throughout the day,
Just because you are separated during the day doesn’t mean you don’t think about each other or want to be thought about. Say something, text something, or drop a post. A quick, “love ya!” can make your day and have you feel connected.
11. Coordinate your day with each other.
Talk about what is happening today. Not like a report but just a bit of information. Maybe something important is going on or just some logistical conversation about picking up the kids or dinner. You can make your life easier if you know what the other person is up to, when they will be home, or where they will be located.
12. Hug and kiss (even virtually)!
Touching, even electronically, makes you feel wanted and connected. It is remarkable how often people in a relationship still feel lonely. One favorite of ours is to have a 10-second kiss. That is long enough to feel really connected to each other. Try it.
13. Do something sexy to or for your partner.
Take it a step further and get sexy with each other. Blow in his ear, pat her rear, blow kisses to each other out in public, put on a sexy piece of clothing, sit on his lap, gaze into each other’s eyes before going to bed, sleep naked, or anything else that brings out the passion in your relationship, even if for a moment. Leaving a love note for your partner somewhere is always a nice touch also!
14. Share a laugh together.
You may have noticed that your relationship has the power to make you very happy or very sad. Bringing some humor into the situation will help you get some perspective on it all that can lighten things up for both of you. Nothing brightens the day more than a good laugh shared with someone. No matter what stress or conflict you may be experiencing, try to see the humor in it.
Even on a good day, try telling each other a joke, watch a funny television show together, or watch your kids having fun, and share in laughing with them.
15. Do something “outside the box” or unexpected.
Be generous and do some kind of favor for your partner with or without being asked. It can be something small, like bringing him or her a glass of water or a cup of coffee; or do something bigger once in a while, like cleaning his car or bringing her flowers.
These are just some ways to nurture your couple and build up your relationship “muscles.” You don’t have to set high expectations, just get in the habit of practicing doing “couple” things. Maybe you will think of some more daily activities that could be added to the list. Please send us your ideas. We would love to hear from you, and we will choose the best one and send you a free copy of our book, Lifelong Love: 4 Steps to Creating and Maintaining an Extraordinary Relationship.
For more on how we work with couples, please call us at 434-971-4701 to set up an appointment or send us a confidential email here.