The quality of your relationship is a direct result of the quality of your communication. For example, if you and your partner have good communication skills, chances are that you’ll have fewer arguments, better sex, and more intimacy. There are many ways to enhance your relationship—and improve communication in particular—but here are some simple exercises that can help:
- Listen to your partner
When they have finished speaking, wait for a minute before responding so that you can gather your thoughts and choose the right words for what you want to say next.
To demonstrate this kind of active listening during a conversation with your partner: Listen carefully while they are speaking; don’t interrupt unless necessary (and even then try not to). Try nodding so that they know their point has been received; if there’s something important being said here then don’t miss out on any details!
Another tip: When you’re communicating with your significant other, don’t just listen to what they are saying—listen to how they are saying it. Are they excited? Lacking in energy? Frustrated or sad? Take note of their body language and facial expressions so that you can better understand their mood. For example, if the other person seems angry then perhaps something has happened at work today which has affected them emotionally (and therefore negatively).
- Set a date night once per week
Plan a date night once per week. Set aside one night each week to do something fun and exciting with your partner. The purpose of this is not to make up for the other six days of the week, but rather to create a special moment that allows you both to relax and enjoy yourselves.
You can go out for dinner, take in a movie or concert together, play games at home—whatever it is that you enjoy doing as a couple and does not involve too much work (for example, don’t plan an elaborate meal if cooking isn’t one of your strengths).
A good way to spend time together is by laughing together—so watch something funny on TV or Netflix (think How I Met Your Mother), play video games where you can laugh at each other’s mistakes and screw-ups (think Mario Kart), or even tell jokes after dinner while cleaning up the kitchen afterward.
If you’re feeling particularly creative, get some paper and a pen or pencil and take turns writing down jokes, riddles, or short stories on slips of paper. Then have your partner read out their joke while you guess what it is before they do (or vice versa). The point isn’t so much to entertain each other as it is to spend time together in a fun way that also helps develop interpersonal skills like communication and listening attentively without interrupting.
- Share positive things that happened in your day
If you’ve been following the steps in this article, you now know how to be present with your partner. But being present is not enough—you have to be aware of what’s happening in your partner’s life as well. Sharing positive things during the day can help strengthen your bond and build a sense of trust between you.
To begin this exercise, think back on yesterday’s activities and all the positive experiences that came with them (e.g., “I enjoyed going for a walk by myself today”). Next, share one of those experiences with each other: “I got some great ideas from reading a book on mindfulness today!” or “It was fun meeting up with friends after work!” If either of these examples seems too personal or intimate for sharing aloud, choose something else instead (e.g., “I had an amazing experience while meditating earlier”).
Now that both partners have shared their experiences individually, they can then share them as well: “So what were some highlights from your day?”
- Do things that make you happy
Doing things that make us happy helps us feel good, and we can use this to our advantage by doing it more often.
It’s important to remember that when we’re in the moment with someone else, it’s easy to get caught up in what they think about the activity or experience. We should focus instead on how this makes us feel and if there are ways we could improve upon it for next time. This will help foster a spirit of cooperation and mutual appreciation between partners who are trying new experiences together rather than competitively vying for attention from each other as they try out these new activities individually (and sometimes separately).
Doing things that make you happy can include anything from going on vacation with friends or family members to taking up cooking classes at your local community center. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve spending money — many people find happiness in their everyday lives just by reading a book or watching TV.
- Be honest about your mistakes
Acknowledge when you’re wrong. If you mess up, don’t be afraid to admit it. Your partner will appreciate your honesty and respect for their feelings. It may help to start with “I’m sorry I did this thing that hurt/bothered/upset you,” or simply, “I was wrong about this thing and I shouldn’t have done it.” Then apologize; just say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” This is an important step because it shows that you care about them more than yourself and want to resolve the issue rather than just acting defensive or trying to justify yourself.
Finally, ask for forgiveness if your partner has not forgiven yet; saying things like “Please forgive me” or even “Will you please forgive me?” are good ways of showing vulnerability while asking for what would make both of you feel better in the long run: peace between each other instead of anger lingering on either side over something small but important in life (like making sure everyone gets fed!).
If you are a couple with kids, then it is even more important to apologize to each other for your mistakes. They will learn how to be better people by seeing their parents make amends and resolve issues this way. And if you don’t have kids, apologizing is still an important part of being present in your relationship.
- Make a point to put your phone away
There are times when you will have to check your phone—even in the most perfect relationships. But the more you can avoid it, the better.
- Don’t check your phone while you are together. If you can put down your device and give her or him 100 percent of your attention, they’ll feel much more loved and appreciated.
- Don’t check your phone while having a conversation with them. This shows that they matter more than anything else on earth right now, even if it’s just text messages from other people who aren’t there with you!
- Don’t check your phone while watching TV together (or at least try not too often). Are there any good reasons why this should be necessary? If so, please share them with us in the comments below! We’d love to hear from our readers about what makes this action okay sometimes despite how much better it would be without such distractions getting between us 🙂
- Go on walks together
Walking is a great way to connect with your partner and get exercise, but it’s also an activity that will likely make you feel closer to each other. You can get outside and enjoy the fresh air, or just take a walk around the block for some alone time (but still be together).
You might even find yourself in an argument, which can be good! It shows that being present means engaging with each other in all of life’s complexities instead of avoiding them out of fear or frustration.
Walking together is a great way to get out of the house and be more present in your relationship. It’s an activity that can help you both feel connected, but it also gives you time to reflect on what’s important while being active with each other at the same time.
- Don’t criticize
Criticism is not always criticism, but it is rarely constructive. Criticism is negative feedback that makes you feel bad, and then usually doesn’t change anything. If your partner criticizes you, this means they’re unhappy with something about the way you are. Don’t take it personally—that’s their problem, not yours. The important thing to remember is that criticism isn’t an opportunity for positive change or growth; it’s just an attack on who you are as a person.
Criticism can be hard to recognize because there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of what it looks like in relationships. Many times people confuse constructive feedback with being critical when they’re just giving suggestions for improvement (like saying “I wish we could go out more often”). However other times criticism comes in forms like blaming (“You should have taken care of the dishes earlier”) or yelling (“Stop acting like such an idiot!”). These things don’t help anyone work through any issues they might have together—they only make things worse by adding more conflict into an already tense situation!
So if your boyfriend came home late last night without calling first (or at all), instead of criticizing him for forgetting his phone charger again (or whatever else), try asking yourself why this happened: did he forget because he was busy running errands? Or did his phone die mid-day so he couldn’t call until later? You might also ask if there was anything else contributing factors—like whether perhaps there was tension between them before she left work early on purpose because she didn’t want too much time alone with him after taking care all day long at home while still having kids at school herself!
- Support each other’s dreams
If you have a partner, they will have dreams and goals that they want to achieve. Support their efforts in achieving their goals by listening to them talk about them, giving advice when they ask for it and showing them that you care about what they want out of life. A simple way of showing someone you care is by asking questions about their dreams—you might not be able to help them achieve these dreams right now, but at least this shows that you’re interested in what makes them tick!
A goal your significant other might have could be: “I want my own business.” You could support this goal by telling her how much potential she has and helping her brainstorm ideas for how the business would work (for example: “What kind of services do people need from a personal assistant? What do people need from a cleaning service?”). You could encourage her by saying things like “I believe in your ability” or “You’ll figure it out”.
- Call each other during long days apart
It’s important to stay connected when you’re apart. Maybe it’s a quick call to say you’re thinking of them, maybe it’s a text or email. Or maybe it’s a video call or even a phone call! But whatever the medium, something as simple as staying in touch can help remind your partner of your love and appreciation for them during their busy day. Try calling each other at least once per week if possible.
Reconnecting with your partner during long days apart keeps you connected in the present. It’s not always easy, but it will help you be present in your relationship.
- Never stop flirting
You don’t want to fall into a routine where you feel like you are just going through the motions of your relationship without having any fun or excitement in it anymore. It’s important to bring back some of those feelings from when you first started dating each other again after things get stale or boring in your relationship.
If your partner is flirting with you, then flirt back! Don’t be afraid to show them that you are interested in what they have to say or do. It can also help if your partner is feeling insecure about themselves at times because flirting will make them feel like they are attractive and desirable.
- Create a ritual for saying goodnight
Creating a ritual for saying goodnight can help you stay present and connected. This may be as simple as a kiss or hug, a text, email, or phone call (or all of the above!). It’s also important to have some kind of routine that says “goodnight” without having to say it out loud.
For example: play a song together before going to bed; send each other messages through an app like WhatsApp using only emojis (the “face with tears of joy” emoji is one of my favorites); or take pictures together at different times during the day and put them in an album on Facebook that both you can see while you sleep (over time these photos will become more than just memories—they will become part of your relationship).
Eating a ritual for saying goodnight can help you stay present and connected. This may be as simple as a kiss or hug, a text, email, or phone call (or all of the above!). It’s also important to have some kind of routine that says “goodnight” without having to say it out loud. For example: play a song together before going to bed; send each other messages through an app like WhatsApp using only emojis.
- Be grateful for one another in every way possible
Being grateful for your partner is an essential component of being in a relationship. If you don’t
appreciate all the good things about your loved one, it’s hard to feel like they have any value at
Being grateful for your relationship is also an important aspect of appreciating what you have
and keeping it alive and thriving. Take time out of each day or week to think about why the two
of you are together, what makes the experience so special and what would make it better going
These are just some examples—the list could go on forever! Be grateful for family members;
friends; health; jobs (whether they pay well or not); hobbies… anything that adds value and
meaning to life can be something worth celebrating with gratitude!
One of the most important things you can do for your relationship is to be present. When we’re constantly distracted by our phones or thinking about other things, we lose out on a lot of opportunities to connect with those around us. So if you want to improve your relationship, make sure that you put down the phone and check in with each other every once in a while!