top of page

Being your best for your better half.

Or, 'Getting the most love from your relationship'.

Ahhh, Valentine’s day - a day to celebrate love, show our love, receive love, and talk about love.

A topic that men often don’t talk about. But today I want to talk about how to nurture a love relationship. Many of you are thinking 'I don’t need any help with that' or 'my relationship is great - I don’t need to do anything different'. Maybe, maybe not. But if everyone says their relationships are going so well, why do 41% of first marriages and 50% of all marriages end in divorce? Why do so many 'good' or even 'great' relationships end after 15, 20 25 or even 30 years? While neither Robin or I may be able to give a precise answer to that question, we do have some great ideas on how to keep a relationship great and have pulled other ideas from some experts into one quick blog to hopefully help you keep getting the most out of your loving relationship.

One thing that I have learned, and my recent research about relationships confirmed, is that there are some common practices found in every strong relationship and I could list a dozen or so and say do those 12 things every day, week, month, or whatever, and you, too, will have a good relationship. But it isn’t that simple, and if I was to just read another list of 12 things to do every week, I might make it through about ½ of them for a couple of weeks and it would taper off and then be forgotten. (And I consider myself an expert in habit change, since that’s what Life and Health Coaches do 😊)

So, I think it would be a little more realistic to explain half a dozen or so of the most important ones, with some examples.

A book that I read a few years ago is a great starting point to talk about communication.

It’s The 5 love Languages, by Gary Chapman. In it, he details how important it is to learn your partner’s “love language” so that you can speak it when you are expressing your love for them. That’s important because if you were speaking a foreign language to someone when you told them over and over that you love them, they still wouldn’t get it. But as soon as you use words or actions that they understand, they WILL get it. But that’s just a portion of communications. There are a LOT of other communications that need to happen in a healthy relationship; so learning to talk to each other about everything and in a timely manner is of the utmost importance. On that note, did you realize that somewhere between 55% and 90% of our communications are non-verbal. HOW we say something, our body language and facial expressions are just as, if not more, important as the words we choose.

Which leads to be deliberate. When you are talking with your loved one, choose face to face as often as possible, especially if the matter has some importance, and remember that this is someone you love, respect and care for so your words, body language and expressions should reflect that. Take time for whatever it is you are doing with or for your significant other (S.O.)

(talking with, doing something for, helping, spending time with or anything else we will talk about in this blog) – be deliberate and be present in the moment.

Another set of things we tend to get slack on after “the honeymoon is over’ so to speak, is Showing appreciation, acknowledging accomplishments (even small ones) complementing and validating their feelings (emotional support). For people whose love language is “words of affirmation” those things will be even more important, but everyone needs to get those things from their partner. As much as practical you should have time daily with your spouse to listen to each other and ask questions about their day – again being deliberate so that you can be there for them, and them for you. You may not think there is anything to acknowledge or complement him/her on, on a daily basis, but, if you think back to the courtship, I am willing to bet that most of us were much better at complementing, acknowledging accomplishments and genuinely showing our passion for everything about them and their lives than 10 years into the relationship.

I wondered where to put this, because this is the least fun part of talking about a loving relationship, and it would be great if no one ever needed it, but we’re all human and no relationship is perfect, so at some point in all of them, there will have to be some harder conversations. So, Take responsibility, admit fault, and be forgiving. (Do NOT find fault or blame). Again, I have to mention being deliberate. Go into any hard conversation with love, courage, compassion and understanding and remember all of the reasons you fell in love with that person, and think about all of the reasons that they have said that they love you. Write them down even, depending on what the conversation is, so that you both see them in black and white before even starting the conversation. One of the many lists of “how to nurture a love relationship” that I read while researching for this actually had attending marriage counseling on the list. If that applies then definitely be willing; but hopefully by following some of these ideas you won’t reach that stage.

Another thing you can do to avoid getting to that stage is to plan dates with each other. (Yeah, yeah, you’re saying. We’ve heard that, and we go out together every other weekend…) Dare I say it again – Be deliberate. How often did you try new and exciting things together, or introduce your better half to one of your favorite hobbies that they had never tried? Or to a new kind of cuisine that neither of you had tried? Do something together that engages you both and isn’t just the two of you staring at your phones while you eat silently before plopping down in a dark theatre to watch a movie that you discuss for two minutes on the way home? Do. Something. Different. And. Exciting. One of my favorite mentors is Darren Hardy (author, keynote speaker, former publisher of SUCCESS magazine) and he suggests that you should have weekly dates, monthly bigger dates, quarterly getaways and something big once a year. I think that’s a great idea and no matter your budget you can still work on a schedule like that. The point is just to deliberately spend time focused on each other – not phones, kids, jobs, dishes etc… and doing things together.

Speaking of doing things together, have I mentioned oxytocin yet? I should have - it’s one of the four feel good hormones in the body and is often called the love or cuddle hormone. It can be released by something as simple as a touch of the hand from a loved one, or a good hug. The more connected the connection, the more oxytocin (hint, hint, wink, wink). You can also get oxytocin by being engaged with a group of friends (Ie playing games), exercising and being outside. So, for a trifecta of oxytocin with a bonus, get outside with your love and do a quick work out, and for the bonus hit the shower together 😉.

Finally, and a little counterintuitively, you have to take time for yourself. What? Yes. Just like the adage from personal finances that you have to ‘pay yourself first’ when doing your budget (IE have a savings that you put money into regularly), you have to pay yourself first in your relationship as well. If you don’t take the time to keep your body and mind fit and growing and learning new things, how are you going to be able to give 100% to your favorite person when you’re feeling depleted? Taking time every day to read, stretch, exercise, meditate or connect with something important to you recharges your batteries so that you have something to give that person that is so important to you.

Being the best person you can for your husband, wife, lover, significant other, better half, or whatever you want to call him or her may not always be easy, but should always be fun. Think about how your relationship was in the beginning - how did that person make you feel and how did you show that person how you feel? Do you still do all of those things? Is that the best way for you to show them how you feel? Really – Is it THEIR love language? Because doing something you love to show you’re your love may not even move the needle on their love tank. Getting the most from your loving relationship really starts by giving the most of yourself to that person, by being your best in every aspect of the relationship. Which brings be to my last suggestion – Check in with your S.O. and ask how you’re doing and what you can do better. If you’re lucky, they will say (in a loving way) how you can improve. If you’re really lucky and have worked at it, maybe they’ll tell you that their love tank is full and you couldn’t do anything better. 💖.

Happy Valentine's Day

For personalized life coaching on relationships reach out to us and we can have a brief conversation to see if working with a coach could help you improve your relationship. We're in Acton, ME, but coach people all over the country.

67 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page