Every relationship needs maintenance now and then, and constant work and attention in order to stay together. These fifteen couples exercises and tips to strengthen your relationship will help you on your way to building a strong foundation and maintaining a happy, healthy long term relationship with your partner.
This is an exercise easily done in the privacy of your own home. For 5 days, write down one thing that your significant other did that you appreciate. It doesn’t have to be anything big; you can count small things like hugs or that they took a walk with you. Writing these down is actually good for both of you; you think of the 5 things which remind you of the gestures, and your partner gets to see that you appreciate even the small things.
Just like your dirty laundry piles up all week, so do minor irritations and unspoken resentments that happen while interacting with your partner. Once every week, exchange your laundry lists with your partner. At first they may insist that everything is fine; dig a little deeper. It will benefit you both.
This list is for fun things you would like to do with your significant other. The list can be as long as you like. Make it a goal to check one thing off every week or even just one every month. You will enjoy each other’s company more and may even discover things about one another that may surprise you both.
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s true. Arguments that go unresolved can lead to resentment, frustration and distance between you. This can be toxic to your relationship and do significant damage to your happiness. Try to resolve arguments on the day they happen, focusing on finding a solution you both can agree on.
In this exercise, write down 5 things that your better half already does, or could do for you to show you their love. There are many ways to show someone you love them without saying the words “I love you,” and these can be far more powerful than mere words. The gestures need not be grand or expensive, but will be significant and will show each of you how much you truly are loved and appreciated.
This is one of the bigger challenges. Set aside an hour (use a timer!) during which you can say anything to your partner that comes to mind, with complete immunity. This is harder than it sounds. Before engaging in this exercise you must both vow that a) it’s for one hour only and b) no hard feelings or grudges will be held afterward. This exercise is recommended for couples that have strong boundaries in place and mutually respect those boundaries. Being fully honest is hard work!
After you put the kids to bed and the dinner dishes are done for the night, turn the lights down low (maybe light a candle), silent your phones and turn the TV off. Sit facing each other, with your knees touching. Hold hands if you like. Look into your partner’s eyes, take a moment to consider your feelings, thoughts and desires, and take turns sharing them. Intimacy is often pushed off to the side when we get busy with everyday life. This exercise helps us tune back in to your partner’s world as well as your own.