Now more than ever, it’s easy to fall into the hum-drum trap of routine. Repetition. Boredom. Monotony. Ennui (if you’re into the French way of viewing and discussing life).
It’s totally understandable, especially given everything we’ve all lived through over the past year-plus. However, when your marriage or love relationship starts to slide into this realm of the not-so-interesting and maybe even entirely-boring-and-draining…well, that’s when you’d better take a step back, take a deep breath and really reevaluate things a good bit.
After all, a beautiful relationship is a lot like a diamond. Rare. Inspiring. Strong. Deep. Valuable. And entirely possible to lose — especially if you’re not protecting it. It’s also probably even more like a living, breathing organism or entity. You need to care for it. Water it. Feed it.
Anyway, enough with the analogies. Let’s drive right into some tried-and-true tips to help you really refocus on and appreciate your partner — and your relationship with one another. Enjoy!
Check in Regularly…
Again, we don’t want to get lost in the routine of…the routine. But if you’re going to keep the embers of love (and respect and trust) burning, you’d better be sure to “check in” with your partner on a pretty regular basis. This could mean setting aside some time at the end of the day to discuss the highlights (and maybe some of the challenges) of the day. These sort of frank, fearless, open discussions could set the stage and present opportunities for a deeper level of connection, understanding and support between you and your partner.
Say “Yes, and…” More than “Yes, but…”
What a difference a word can make. This is a perfect example. If you or your partner have ever taken any kind of “improv” (acting, standup comedy, etc.) class, you’re probably familiar with this exercise in serious semantics — or something like it. Rather than getting defensive or somehow negating or refuting what your partner is saying, try to always add on and create something together. Remember, “we” is truly greater than “me” (what a difference a single letter can make) — especially when it comes to a relationship. Try always responding and reacting with “yes, and…” rather than “yes, but…” in your conversations for a solid week — and see where it takes you and your relationship.
Some of us are extroverts. Others are introverts. But at our very core, all us humans are social animals. Of course, the circumstances of the past year-plus have challenged all of us in our social lives — and also offered us serious opportunities for introspection, growth and development (how’s that for choosing “yes, and…” over “yes, but…”?). No matter how adept we may be at communicating and expressing our feelings, thoughts and desires at work or at home we may be, we all hit lulls in life that cause us to “clamp up” some. If one or both of you happens to be hitting a rough patch and finds yourself shutting down, why not take some time to talk about it and support one another? Go ahead. Let it out. Don’t hold back. Just try to be…respectful, kind and loving.
Hide the Phones. And Maybe…the Kids.
No matter how long you and your partner have known and loved one another, you need to spend time together…to stay together. Not just any time, either. Quality time. “Alone together” time. If you have children, this can mean getting away from them for a while now and then — something that’s obviously easier to do if they’re independent and grown. One thing we all have today, regardless of the nature of our family, is phones. Always-on, always-connected, forever-distracting phones. When you and your partner are alone together, especially in bed together at the end of a long day, are you still scrolling, texting, “liking” and replying on your phone? If so…at least strongly consider putting it down. Possibly even…turning it off. Some things can always wait. And some things are just more valuable than whatever is calling to you through that small screen. One of those things is your relationship.
Plan a Night Out on The Town. Or Safe at Home.
We hear more and more talk about married or other long-connected couples scheduling and enjoying a regular “date night” to keep the passion, romance and adventure burning in their relationship. And for good reason, too. When you plan out a night out on the town (or safe at home, as we’re more and more inclined to do now), you create something exciting and even a bit unknown to look forward to together. To add even more adventure, excitement and intrigue here, you could take turns “overseeing” your date night or adventure — and keep it a secret from your partner up until you step out (or stay in) together. Make it FUN!
Feels Like the First Time…
If you’re not currently married or engaged to the love of your life, you just might be able to apply some of these tips to a newfound relationship — or possibly the rekindling of a once-lost love. Hey, it happens. And it can actually be beautiful.
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