April is designated National Couple Appreciation Month to encourage couples to do something special to re-enforce and celebrate their relationship – to let their partners know that they are respected and desired.
Given the grim statistics we hear on the state of relationships, I’m glad there is a whole month set aside to appreciate couples.
Statistics say most couples are unhappy in their relationships and more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.
As bleak as these statistics are, on the other hand, there are still approximately 50% of couples in relationships that are long lasting, thriving and happy.
What keeps these couples connected and happy?
Here are few tips you can use to improve and strengthen your relationship:
- Communicate. Communication is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Expressing your feelings is the key to effective communication no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may feel. In strong resilient relationships, couples say “I love you” often and don’t sweep unpleasant issues under the rug.
- Date Night. Remember how you looked forward to going on a date with your partner before the bills, school functions, meetings and other life forces took over and pushed your relationship to the back burner? You can regain that same excitement and joy in your relationship. Start going on dates again. Just as you schedule other functions, schedule a time devoted to each other. Make your relationship as a priority. Take out your calendar or smartphone, select a mutually agreeable date and time and write in your partner’s name. Commit to this date and don’t use excuses to stand up your partner. I’m sure you’re super busy but you must have at least one night out of seven to devote to your partner.
- Never go to bed angry. In any relationship, especially a couple, unresolved anger breed resentment. Long-term resentment leads to apathy and disconnection. Don’t give anger space to grow. Let the other person know how you feel without directing blame or criticism.
- Play together. Most couples spend less than 20 minutes a day engaged with each other and even less having fun together. Make time in your schedule to do a fun activity you both enjoy. Couples who share a common interest such as golf or bowling tend to have less conflict in their relationship. Not only do these couples spend time having fun, they also are strengthening their connection.
- Trust. Can you count on your partner tomorrow do what he or she says? Successful relationships are built on trust. If you tell your partner you’ll be home by 6:30, don’t be persuaded to stop for a beer or get into a 20-minute conversation with co-workers when it’s time to leave work.
- Fight fair. All couples have disagreements. If you’re not careful, disagreement can end in shouting matches, anger and hurt. A disagreement does not mean you don’t love each other or care. Before you start slinging insults, name calling or a disagreement ends badly, a 5-10 minute “time out” may help you sort out your thoughts so you can return and reach an amicable solution.
- Show appreciation. Couples ought to show appreciation every day not just in April when we celebrate National Couple Appreciation Month. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your partner; you just forget to verbalize your appreciation. Tell your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Put an “”I love you” note on a pillow, in a pocket, on the bathroom mirror, in his or her gym bag or briefcase/purse to make them smile.
Couple Appreciation month ends in a few days but you don’t wait for Couple Appreciation month to let your partner know how much more enjoyable he or she makes your life, and then tell them.
To get professional help to improve or strengthen your relationship, please contact me to schedule a consultation.