It may seem like the era of internet dating, shortening attention spans, and financial instability has taken its toll on romance—but rather than a producing a generation of hardened cynics, many people hold love in higher regard than ever before.
According to data available from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, divorce rates are at a 40-year low. Some people believe it’s because with more choice and changing attitudes, people are marrying later in life (so they have a little more self-knowledge), and for love. However, the modern world can still get in the way of even the most committed of relationships, and every now and then, you need to put a little thought into reconnecting.
Unless there’s been some mistake along the way, your partner should be your favorite person in the whole world (or at least in the top three), with qualities and quirks you respect and admire. The tricky part is reminding yourself not to take this for granted. In the early days of a relationship, it can be obvious how fabulous they are and you naturally prioritize your time together, but after a little while, work and responsibilities take their toll, and it’s possible to drift apart.
This doesn’t mean a terminal decline is inevitable—it’s simply a gentle reminder to shake things up. Here are four ways to reconnect in your relationship and rekindle that romance:
1. Prioritize Your Relationship
Bills need to be paid, children looked after, and personal projects pursued, but if you’re in it for the long haul, your relationship has to take priority. This doesn’t mean you need to quit your job and move into a 5-star hotel together out of touch with reality (however tempting that might be), but you need to make sure that rather than letting your relationship quietly tick away in the background, it’s an active and dynamic entity that’s at the forefront of your lives.
Saying you need to work at a relationship sounds a little cliché (and depressing because who wants to do more work?), but it isn’t really about more work as much as it is about more care and attention. If you’ve developed any of the following habits, it may be time for a new approach:
- Saying “uh-huh” to your partner rather than actually listening to them
- Barely seeing them as you rush between work and social engagements
- Reading your smartphone rather than chatting
If you notice these habits, it’s time to prioritize connection in your relationship.
2. Meditate Together
Meditation does so many things to improve a relationship that taking up this practice together is pretty much a no-brainer. Meditation has been proven to:
Stress is a huge strain on modern relationships, and coming home feeling irritable after a day at work can make small problems seem much bigger. It also increases that feeling of apathy since so much of your energy is expended on stressing out that doing something nice for one another becomes just another chore.
Meditation can help eliminate this stress and give you the clarity needed to see what’s really important in your life. Meditation can also become one of your “couple rituals,” or the things you do together that strengthen your bond, like setting aside time to have coffee and catch-up each morning.
3. Be Your Partner’s Number One Fan
It’s inevitable that over time the little things that annoy you about your partner will become more visible, and get in the way of their general delightfulness. If you look at your partner and see the person who left a wet towel on the bed again rather than the one who takes care of you when you’re sick, then remind yourself of their good points. Seeing the funny side of people’s bad habits can also help, especially since we all have them.
Cheerlead your partner through life and don’t shoot down their dreams, no matter how outlandish they might seem, and expect the same treatment in return. Each of us encounters so many naysayers, and often don’t have a high opinion of ourselves, so it’s nice to be on someone’s side and have them on yours. This doesn’t mean blind approval at all times, but thinking the best of your partner whenever possible is a healthy practice, even if they do leave the milk on the counter daily.
4. Show Your Appreciation
It’s part of the human condition that you take things that seem permanent for granted, so if your relationship is well into the “’til death do us part” stage, you may forget to show your appreciation. Small gestures can go a long way, and once you get the ball rolling, it’s pretty likely that your partner will start returning the favor. It may sound corny, but then again, any attempt to embrace your inner romantic is bound to be. Playing it cool doesn’t really make much sense when you’re dealing with your one and only.
There are hundreds of ways to show that you love and admire someone, whether it’s:
- Exchanging small, silly gifts referring to inside jokes between the two of you
- Leaving a loving note in their work bag
- Telling them they look great (and not just when they’re dressed up)
This practice shouldn’t just be about the ways they help and support you every day either—although this is important—but should be done simply because you think they’re wonderful in and of themselves.
The first flush of love is always going to be exciting and all-encompassing, but settling into the rhythm of life as a couple can be just as fun and enjoyable. Learning to stay appreciative of your partner will nurture your bond, giving you the strength to weather life with an unbreakable togetherness. With this, you can enjoy your relationship for years to come.
Discover Deepak Chopra’s secrets for finding more meaning and fulfillment within your busy life at I Am Infinite Possibilities. Learn More.