The Tips Were Written by Samantha Karlin for YourTango.com. A long established dating coach and image consultant, Samantha has worked with numerous clients on increasing self-esteem and gaining perspective on their love lives.
10 Tips for an Easier and More Blissful Relationship
Relationships require both parties to put in the necessary work to stay happy. For some, the work needed is more difficult than others. Yet, all of your efforts will pay off when you and your partner are living in relational bliss. Here are 10 tips to achieving passion and happiness in your relationship.
1. Spend quality time with each other. Particularly when you live with someone, time together can be easily taken for granted because the assumption is you will just see each other when you get home. However, being home at the same time does not necessarily translate to quality time.
Set a regular time where your number one priority is each other. Also, try to mix up your dates or activities. New experiences release dopamine in the brain, which also increases sexual desire. So, get out of that dinner and a movie funk and try something adventurous. Free kayaking on a river is one suggestion. But, I am sure you can think of other adventures the two of you can explore. Also Read: Playing The Field: The Pros & Cons Of Dating Around
2. Spend quality time with yourself. Self-help guru and creative mastermind, Julia Cameron, calls this "The Artist's Date." She classifies it as an afternoon spent with just you and an activity that you enjoy, whether it be wandering around a flea market, seeing an movie, reading a book, painting, or anything else you enjoy doing.
This alone time will help you to foster your own creativity, gain perspective and increase your level of happiness. Enjoying the time you spend with yourself will also make you less dependent on your partner to provide constant company or entertainment. Once you start to realize you do not need someone else to have a good time, you start really enjoying life.
3. Explore one another. Personality tests like Strengths 2.0, Myers Brigg and the Enneagram, can give you insight into why your partner behaves the way that they do. Understanding your partner's natural inclinations is key to having empathy for them, which is crucial to successful bonding. Suggest to your partner that you both take these tests and share the results with one another. It will shed light on those mysteries about one another that you just have not been getting.
4. Introduce new ideas to your sex life. Try integrating new things into the bedroom. Baby oil, sex toys or roleplay are three possible ideas. Also, try starting off sex with a massage or something that shows how much you care about your partner.
In addition, it is time to target any sexual issues that either of you may be experiencing. These issues often go unfixed due to male pride or embarrassment. Lack of sex drive and the inability to maintain an erection, among other sexual issues, are easily treatable with natural and prescription medications. A healthy sex life is crucial to a healthy relationship.
5. Take the listening test. How do you listen? True empathy requires active listening. Active listening is completely and totally focusing on the other person, without distraction. Active listening goes beyond just hearing the words that they say. It requires feeling the energy that the person is putting across in the room. Active listening also requires that you are not planning a counterargument or solution as the other person talks. Listen, think and then speak. Also Read: Want To Know What Makes a Happy Relationship?
6. During an argument, stop speaking. Almost everyone is in agreement that communication is essential to successful relationships. But as noted in the last tip, words are not the only ways in which we can communicate with one another. Sometimes we even use words malproductively. Words are frequently used in order to hide our true feelings, to over intellectualize a situation or to disguise our vulnerabilities from our partners.
So try this. The next time you get into an argument, stop talking and stare deeply into each other's eyes for one minute. If you find it helpful, put on your favorite cheesy love song in the background. When you feel so compelled, reach out for your partner's hand. Then wait patiently. The anger will subside as you connect with one another.
Hugging works as well. Hugging for at least 20 seconds releases oxytocin in the brain, a chemical responsible for attachment in both sexes. Oxytocin is otherwise known as the "cuddle hormone." Hugging also releases dopamine and serotonin, "feel good" chemicals. The better you start to feel, the better you will feel about your partner. Also Read: Want A Happy Relationship?
7. Keep a qualities list. Make a list of all of the things you love about your partner and put it up somewhere so that you can see it everyday. By consistently having a visual reminder of all the things that you love about that person, you will be able to remember all the reasons you are in love with them.
8. Listen to your gut. Successful relationships also require constant insight into yourself. Sometimes, one partner will act angrily towards the other when they are actually angry at themselves or at something else entirely unrelated to their partner. This psychological phenomenon is called projection.
In order to understand where your anger is coming from, you must be clued into what is going on with yourself and the myriad of things that could be affecting you. It is also important to be acutely in tune with your partner in order to circumvent what may be misplaced anger towards you and really get to the heart of what they are experiencing.
9. Take a mini vacation. A vacation does not have to be a week in Cabo. It could be a weekend in the country, a dayhike or a picnic. Particularly with new luxury travel flashsale sites such as Jetsetter, SniqueAway and Tablet, going somewhere completely fabulous is now more affordable than ever.
Enjoying a peaceful experience together will decrease stress, increase sexual desire and create positive memories that are part of the foundation of your relationship. But, when you are on the trip, focus on letting in only positive energy. Nagging and condescending remarks are not allowed. Focus on enjoying your partner's company.
10. Change the setting. The classic vision of a couple fighting is one person pacing the room while the other person stands there and yells at them, and then they both yell back. It is usually a small, suffocating space filled with anger and heat. The combination of all of these things it makes all parties even more irritable. Instead, use environmental psychology to your favor. Small, hot spaces foster hostility, whereas open spaces, particularly those near bodies of water, create calm and acceptance.
Therefore, if you do need to talk something out with your honey, try to do it while simultaneously doing something outdoors or physical. Having somewhere else to exert your anger will help you separate your perceived anger from the actual frustration and issues you are having. This will also enable you to talk about them in a calmer, more rational way. Physical activity will also lower cortisol levels and clear your head. Being in nature helps you both to realize how small you are in relation to a much larger world. In tangent with that, how small your problems are in relation to the world's. I can guarantee that talking things over in a peaceful setting will greatly decrease the time you spend angry at one another.
Samantha Karlin is also the founder of New York Dating Consultants was formed to battle a catastrophic divorce rate and a staggeringly high number of singles in the US. The more internal that people get, the less they are meeting people externally- and this makes their love lives suffer. She also conclusively found that happy people make attractive people, and engaged on a quest to help increase people's overall well-being- thereby making them more desirable and better long term partners.