Maintain your relationship with a 4-step plan
In a study of married couples aged 30 and 40, it was found that the quality of their marriage declined in one year in terms of passion, love, satisfaction, intimacy, and commitment. People tend to shrug and tell themselves that this is how things are. When you are short on time and energy and have to focus on other things like career and children, it’s easy to switch on relationship autopilot.
You may be tempted to reset your computer when you feel doubt creeping in.
You may be being too harsh on a relationship that is working. Even the best relationships require effort.
It’s better to stay in the relationship than to leave. If you want to maintain your relationship, you should consider the following psychology-based strategies.
- Use boredom as an inspiration.
Boredom has a purpose. Boredom can be a warning sign that your relationship is in need of recharging, just as your phone’s battery will indicate when it is running low.
All relationships are affected by boredom at different times. Researchers Cheryl Harasymchuk and colleagues studied how people respond. When you are bored, for example, do you turn to things you know and that make you feel confident, such as taking a stroll around your neighborhood or other familiar activities? To spice things up, do you opt for growth-enhancing activities like hiking on a new path in an unfamiliar place?
When bored, study participants chose growth-enhancing activities. And when given the chance to plan dates, they added more novelty. Instead of resigning to the inevitable boredom that comes with relationships, use boredom to motivate you to take action.
Find something out of the ordinary that you can do with your partner. Ishii Koji/DigitalVision via Getty Images
- Keep dating
Couples would do better to take action than to wait until boredom strikes. The answer is as simple as dating. Couples prioritize one-on-one dates early in their relationship, but they eventually start to coast just as the relationship needs a boost.
Research shows that couples can recapture the magic of their early relationships by engaging in new, challenging, and interesting activities. Couples should try new things instead of staring at their phones. You could try a different restaurant or a fresh meal at your favorite spot.
Try new things to counter boredom and grow as a human being. This increases passion, satisfaction, and commitment in the relationship.
Researchers asked couples to either play games such as Jenga, Monopoly, and Scrabble or attend an art class. All couples had higher levels of oxytocin, the “cuddle-hormone” that is used to help partners bond. The art class couples, however, had higher oxytocin levels and more touching. This could be because they were doing something new and outside of their comfort zones. This novelty could encourage couples to depend on each other as a source of assurance.
It’s good to laugh together and talk about the central relationship in a rom-com. fizkes/Shutterstock.com
- Movie nights
You don’t want to get out your oil paintings? You can also opt for a more low-key option, such as a couples’ movie night. Grab a seat on the couch. Researchers asked couples to watch a romantic movie like “When Harry Met Sally” and then discuss it, while other couples attended a relationship workshop. After three years, the couples who watched the film were more likely to be still together.
Watching a romantic film is not just about watching any movie; it’s also a way for couples to talk about relationship issues in a more relaxed and less intimidating manner. It could also change the way they view their relationship. It’s also important because, according to research by psychologist Eli Finkel as well as others, looking at your relationship with a completely neutral eye can help couples prevent marriage decline.
- Find the bright spots.
You can do a lot of things, but daily maintenance is also important.
In psychology, there’s an old saying that says, ” the bad is stronger than the good.” This can be applied to relationships by focusing only on what’s not working and ignoring what’s going right. It’s self-defeating.
You can also easily identify the positive aspects of your relationship. You can be more deliberate about noticing the positive aspects of your relationship. You will not only appreciate your partner better, but you can take advantage of what is going well in order to improve the less positive areas.
Focus on the positives. AllGo/Unsplash, CC BY
People wait too long before they try to fix something. Adopting an attitude of maintenance can help you to improve your relationship.
A new study looked at a way of helping couples who are already in healthy relationships. Researchers’ intervention required couples to complete positive psychology research-based activities