The rule of thumb in any relationship has always been to treat your partner the way that you would like to be treated right? Well…it’s not always that cut and dry. Each person in a relationship is a unique and beautiful piece of the puzzle. Perhaps one partner may need to hear words of love multiple times a day, while the other may feel shy to hear the same. One partner may enjoy receiving elaborate gifts while the other may be uncomfortable with it. Communication, helpful honesty and kindness can go a long way in creating a happy marriage.
In the meantime, try these Love Hacks from Dr. Eli Finkel.
1. Touch Your Partner
Remember holding hands with your first boy/girlfriend? Such a small gesture but it brings up warm and fuzzy feelings! And there is something to be said for the waist squeeze. Again, a small gesture that means so much. It isn’t quite a hug but offers affection. Ensure that your touch is given positively and with warmth. Dr. Finkel found that couples who are touched more often by their partners in these non-sexual ways, feel more loved than those who are not. Challenge yourself to practice touching your partner, whenever the opportunity arises, for a whole week! Whether it’s holding hands at the grocery store or a pat on the bottom when you pass in the hall, the act of touch will help strengthen trust and affection.
2. Don't jump to conclusions
Kick off those hiking boots! If your relationship is already on a rocky path, don’t make it worse by making mountains out of molehills. It’s been proven that unhappy couples tend to attribute small mistakes by their partners as permanent internal flaws. This has never been more apparent with instant communication. Some people expect an immediate response to calls/texts/emails etc. When this doesn’t happen, these people will attribute this to their partner “being selfish” instead of thinking “wow, they must be really busy today”. Challenge yourself this week to try thinking of at least three other reasons why you haven’t received that text message or call back.
3. Be an outsider looking in
Imagine a neutral third party standing on your front porch and looking in. Now imagine they were watching a dialogue between yourself and your partner. What would they see looking in? Is it anything you would be ashamed of? Anything you would be embarrassed about? This hack has been proven to help. Challenge yourself if you are struggling to stay kind to each other, imagine there is someone watching. Don’t say or do anything that someone who cares about you both would be upset by. Sometimes we need to remember how to be nice to one another.
4. Practice Gratitude
Do you have an attitude of gratitude? There is no such thing as too many thank-you’s and there ARE many ways to say thanks. Maybe a walk-by quick shoulder rub and a ‘thanks for folding the socks’ or a sticky note on the fridge with “thanks for taking out the garbage”. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Sometimes though, we must remind ourselves of how grateful we are for our relationships. It’s been proven that those who wrote down their partner’s contributions to their relationship felt more committed. Challenge yourself this week to make a list of ways you have noticed your partner has invested in the relationship. Catch them doing good! Take note of the little things they do for you. Write them down. You may be shocked by how invested they actually are!
5. Accept Compliments
Accept compliments: You think I’m pretty? Are you sure? I don’t believe you. Rejection sensitivity is a wicked little demon that causes an individual to be unable to accept a partner’s affection, compliments, etc. To avoid being rejected by their partner, the individual will discount the love in order to avoid being hurt by what they feel is the inevitable rejection. Discounting a compliment costs more than you think. Discounting a partner’s affection can and will eventually drive them away. Imagine someone has given you a great new coffee mug. Then you smash it. Then tomorrow they bring another, and you smash it. Then the next day is the same, and so on for weeks. How long do you think they will keep bringing you great new coffee mugs? Challenge yourself this week to simply say “Thank you”. Not – ‘I bought it on sale’ or ‘I need a haircut so badly’ or ‘you need your eyes checked’. Just say “Thank you”.
6. Celebrate little victories
Celebrate little victories: A win for her is a win for you! And vice versa! And sometimes you have to fake it until you make it, but shared joy will help a couple feel closer to one another. If your partner is excited about something, get onboard! Do research, ask questions, and become a subject matter expert. Did something exciting happen during their day? Put down your phone and give them your attention while they tell you. Be enthusiastic about it as well! Let your partner have their moment and celebrate life’s little victories. Challenge yourself this week. Find the small victories in your days and celebrate them with your partner. Made it to Tuesday and only broke one pencil? Calling in sick to spend a day at the beach with your honey? Only had to clean up two puppy messes today? Sounds like a reason to celebrate to me!
Life isn’t easy, and we can use all of the hacks when can get….even Love Hacks.
~The All or Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel.