1. Work on yourselves as individuals first
In order to save and strengthen a relationship, both partners need to do their own inner work. “It’s important for both individuals to work on themselves and connect with their core values and strengths,” Pawelski says. “Lead with curiosity by creating an open space where you can both be honest with one another. Only then can you work together as a couple to try to strengthen your relationship.”
2. Fight better
Although it may sound counterintuitive to fight if you’re trying to heal and strengthen your relationship, House says arguing can be a perfectly healthy thing to do. The key, she caveats, is to do it the right way. This looks like communicating in an open, honest way that will bring you closer together versus lashing out and blaming each other, which will only drive you further apart.
3. Express gratitude for the little things
“It’s the littlest things that give breath to the relationship,” House says. Therefore, it’s important to express your appreciation for the little things your partner does. This can take shape in any number of wasy, such as taking out the trash, making coffee, or sending you a sweet text message. And not just once in a while, but daily. House suggests making this a nightly ritual and saying thank you for one small thing you each did that day.
4. Savor your time together
Acknowledging and truly savoring the time you spend with your partner and not taking it for granted is another strategy that can help save a relationship. And not just the big moments, like vacations or birthdays, but all the little daily moments, too, like watching TV together or making dinner at home. Be fully present, and soak up that quality time.
5. Do monthly check-ins
Relationships require maintenance, which is why regular check-ins can be helpful. To do this, House suggests sitting down together for a calm and honest conversation about how your relationship is doing. Cover all areas, such as communication, intimacy, parenting, and finances. “By addressing potential problems early on, you are able to fix them before they break you and simultaneously expand and deepen your true emotional intimacy and connection,” House says.
6. Celebrate each other
Although being there for each other through the tough stuff is an important part of the relationship, so too is celebrating each other’s achievements. “Often we are barely listening when our partner shares something good with us,” Pawelski says. “We may unintentionally dismiss it by not paying attention, going back to reading the paper, perhaps, or changing the subject. These behaviors are just as bad as directly saying something negative about our partner’s good news.” So when your S.O. gets home, beaming with good news to share, put down your phone and give them the attention they deserve.
7. Stay curious about your partner
Reigniting a spark or restoring a state of emotional health to a relationship can be as simple as taking an interest in one another. “In the beginning of a relationship, it seems to be easy to be curious about our partner and focus on the positive,” Pawelski says. “However, later in the relationship when the newness fades, we often mistakenly think we know all there is to know about our partner. We stop asking questions, and we fall into a rut.” So, by simply showing your curiosity for one another, you’ll be able to stay focused on what’s going well and what’s really not.