Happy and loving relationships don't seem like they should be hard work. Yet often times, happiness and love alone can’t address the larger things that tend to weaken a bond due to an increasing toxicity between two partners.
Between boredom, cheating, loss of friendship, doubt and just sheer unhappiness, keeping that spark alive can be difficult when a relationship free of foibles goes awry. Fortunately, there are key things loving couples can do together in hopes to strengthen bonds of an already healthy and functioning relationship.
Work out together
As the adage goes, “couples who sweat together, stay together.” Mirroring the thrill of romantic attraction, studies in Sports Medicine and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggest exercise induces symptoms of physical arousal and help to boost overall relationship satisfaction thanks to a shared fitness goal. Sweating side-by-side not only amps up the romance between partners, but researchers also discovered a direct correlation to relationship quality and happiness due in part to the increase of endorphins during their workouts.
Talk about money
One of the leading causes of a relationship going sour is money matters. Relationship experts across the board, including the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts say finances are one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States, which means — talk it out. While communication is the key foundational must-have for any good relationship, talking openly about money is important. Rather than having one person handle all the finances or investments, work on common goals together and create joint accounts to pay bills as a unit, that way there are no surprises, secrets or ways to wonder how to make your accounts work for the household.
Have sex frequently
If you and your partner are in a healthy relationship rooted in trust and communication, sex is simple. According to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, having sex is not only a helpful method for strengthening emotional bonds, but it keeps the two of you in tune with one another. Of course, juggling family life and work can make it hard to maintain a healthy sex life, which is why so many couples plan it the same way they do with cardio classes or book club. Knowing it’s planned can be fun as the two build up anticipation throughout the day, and can even surprise each other with role-playing — which amplifies personality and attraction.
Explore new locales and culture together
When you’ve been together with someone for a long time, the every day routine can become quite monotonous. But that’s why it’s important to explore new places together, while indulging in culture, arts and activities that will brighten conversation and personality to new heights. Discovering new things together not only inspires your bond to take more risks as a couple, but it opens up communication to a healthy direction of comfort and rekindling that initial spark.
Cook and bake together
The British Journal of Psychology revealed partners who mirror actions and goals are coordinated with one another, providing them an opportunity to create deeper, more emotional connections. And of course, the same goes for cooking! Between grilling that roast and mixing that batter, the time you spend in the kitchen as a couple helps you both communicate over a more relaxed environment that values being present. Moreover, the real fun begins when you two learn new things together, including personality musings through conversation — and of course, sneak a few kisses and laughs in the mix with that bottle of wine.
Celebrate successes together
If you want to really make things healthier between you and your partner, don’t just frequently talk about the deep, dark stuff to better develop your understanding of one another — make it a point to embrace and celebrate each other’s successes. When you do something awesome, it should be appreciated by both partners. A study from the American Psychological Association found the way a person responds to their partner’s success is more important than how they respond in crisis, suggesting such a reaction to their loved one’s achievements is a strong indicator of the strength of their relationship. Celebrations provide not just an opportunity to boost self-esteem, but reinforce your status as a team, which boosts affection.