My rare specimen (my boyfriend) and I had a wonderful extended fourth of July weekend in Desert Hot Springs this past weekend. I came back SO relaxed and filled with so much love. Before I went, I was in a bit of a funk and wasn’t much fun to be around but the trip helped put everything in perspective and reaffirmed the relationship we have together as a couple. It got me thinking about what we do to show our love and how we spend our time together. I wanted to share with you some ways that we have deepened our relationship so we never take each other for granted.
After all, the best kind of relationship is the kind where you can act as lovers and best friends at the same time.
Before you do any of the below I always suggest that you take this quiz to understand how you feel and express love. Ever since I understood my Love Language, it’s been easier for me to understand where misunderstandings might happen, how to interact with others and what areas of improvement I have.
Ways to deepen your relationship:
- Do activities where you are both actively engaged not passively interacting. Cooking is one of our favorite activities where we are both contributing. We rarely watch TV together unless it’s background noise or we’re doing something else. Netflix and Chill isn’t one of the activities we do because we’d rather be talking or doing something we can’t do with anyone else. When you do activities where you are both engaged, it feels more of a team effort not just one person pulling the weight. It can be anything from cleaning the house together to working out together– but sharing truly unique experiences where you can do something inspiring or creative helps you weave someone into your precious memories.
- Maintain strong eye contact. A lot of communication in general these days happens over electronic devices so it’s important that when you’re together you are looking at each other. Instead of always being distracted by your phones or other people be sure to look at your partner for uninterrupted periods of time. Not only does it feel like you’re in a different world and alone despite all of the noise, you feel both literally and emotionally seen. My boyfriend and I like to wink at each other playfully and have gotten to a point where he can tell what’s on my mind just from my body language.
- Show appreciation. Depending on your Love Language this could come in different forms but it’s important to show your partner that you care. Whether it’s straight up saying “I appreciate you”, other words of acknowledgement or gifts, make sure your partner knows and feels like they are a priority in your life. Not doing so can create tension or disconnect between you two which isn’t conducive to growing together in a forward motion.
- Show and breed affection. I was never much of a touchy feely person growing up but have grown to be able to hug and hold people who are important to me. At its most basic level it’s a hug as a greeting and with my boyfriend it comes in weekly massages and frequent cuddles. Showing affection can also be thinking what they might want from the grocery store or doing something they might not have time to do otherwise, or sending them a text or a note at work. It’s the small exchanges that you have and share that go a long way and add another dimension to the relationship. Physical attraction is great but acts of thoughtfulness and sweetness build intimacy and heart boners.
- Acknowledge each other. When you know the little things that your partner needs and wants, or delights in (and you have someone who can do that for you) that’s when you have someone irreplaceable, a keeper. How can you show random acts of kindness? How can you sweetly surprise them and bring a smile to their face? When you live life and interact with your partner as if they’re just a prop in your routine of life, things don’t seem as bright or exciting. Share an article that you think they might like because they mentioned the topic a few days ago. Make or cook something for them because they had a rough day or you’re celebrating a win. The key to acknowledging someone is to be able to listen and pay attention to what they care about.
- Visualize together. I have quite an imagination and I’m quite the dreamer so I need to be with someone who can dream as big as I can. When you share your thoughts and dream with one another and envision a future situation it helps to keep in mind a vision that is bigger than the day to day. It also helps to evaluate if you two are on the same page about the same things. One example is when my boyfriend and I were laying in bed and I randomly started talking about how I was imagining myself in Mexico where I was looking out from the beach. He and I took turns filling in the story with our own ideas and sentences. Just doing that exercise together helped not only to relax ourselves but also to laugh together and bond over ideas.
- Enjoy silence together. If you can be comfortable with someone in a silent/quiet space whether it’s by the pool, bedtime or anywhere else, this most likely means you can feel at ease and feel safe with the person. If you feel like you have to fill in the gaps of silence with conversation your body and/or mind isn’t free to be itself. When you can enjoy silence with someone this person brings you peace and calm in an otherwise hectic and noisy world. I know I feel this way with my boyfriend and he’s someone I can do everything and nothing with. The point is to be as text/phone and distraction free so you can connect with each other face to face for some quality time.
- Ask the hard questions and have meaningful conversation. Go beyond the superficial conversation and “how are you’s”, let your guard down and dig deeper. Sharing feelings and thoughts that otherwise might not come up help to uncover layers of a person and build the foundation of trust and respect, crucial for a long term partnership. It’s when you can share feelings that make you vulnerable and they engage and welcome you instead of push you away, that deepens the reservoir of love. Share yourself. That includes worries, hopes and dreams, and your feelings about the other person. Don’t be afraid of any of it. Being super honest is the antidote to bad relationships.
- Take long walks together. In an instant gratification world, taking a walk side by side in a forward motion together taking in the sights is a beautiful thing. Not to mention you’re both headed in the same direction at the same pace, which intuitively sets you to be on the same page and in sync with each other. Taking in sensory details- the sound of the cars passing by, the smells in each neighborhood, the bumps on the sidewalk is a fun tactile experience that is much more well rounded, memorable and colorful than just sitting.
- Write to each other. I remember in the very beginning stages of our relationship he wrote 40 facts about himself to me, after he watched my 40 facts video. The fact that he took the time to share details of his life with me let alone take the time to write them down meant so much especially in this fast paced world. When you write not for assignment but because you want to, you’re sharing a part of your inner workings and thoughts, pouring your heart on the page. Being authentic with someone allows that person to be authentic with you. Ever since, we’ve written long emails, handwritten notes and letters/cards to each other whenever it seems fit. We even have haiku Tuesdays where he write me a short poem each week. Writing gives us time and space to reflect, helping to record where we are in our relationship at that time and taking us to the next step once we understand what that is. Without time to reflect we wouldn’t have the deliberate effort to move the relationship forward and would be forcing something.Not going to lie, my boyfriend and I like to take cute photos and eat a lot but it’s all of the above things that make him one of a kind and my rare specimen. If you have someone you care about in your life, I hope you’ll consider doing some of these! With the right person it feels safe and fun to do it again and again in different ways and stages of the relationship.