Curious about the little things that we do, on a regular basis, to try to maintain and grow our relationship? We’ve tried and tested many things and are still learning and changing, but here's a list of the 10 little things that we feel have made the biggest, and most sustainable, impact on our relationship so far.
We've introduced some of these practices by accident while others have taken intentional and consistent work to develop.
As always, we’re not saying that these are the best practices for all relationships. We’re sharing what’s worked for us and invite you to “take what you need”, and to share if you like anything.
The 10 Little Things
As our long time readers will know, the goal behind each of these little things is to help us become wholes who share a path, rather than two halves completing each other. This means that these practices aim to help us 1) grow the relationship by growing ourselves as individuals; 2) take responsibility and ownership for our individual happiness and agency; 3) co-create a supportive and empowering partnership.
Learning: It's widely considered as a catalyst for happiness. Both of us use our commutes for podcasts and books on topics to do with personal and professional development and we like to share nuggets of what we’ve learned throughout the day with each other. Right now, David’s into positive psychology and Lindsey's into Elizabeth Benton’s Primal Potential podcasts. We find that whatever helps us to improve as individual wholes, pays dividends towards our relationship. If you’re looking for a place to start, we recommend these books to share and collaborate!
Cuddling: We share a love language, which is physical touch (if you haven’t done the 5 love languages quiz online, we highly suggest it!). Physical touch, for us, builds both connection and desire. We rarely embrace while we’re out with friends or in public, but when we have the opportunity, we're all about cuddling (I know right? So gross ;)).
Expressing Gratitude: Gratitude is also a catalyst for happiness and health: it feels awesome to be appreciated and to share appreciation! Typically before bed, we’ll write in our personal gratitude journals about our own day, then express one or two gratitudes relevant to the relationship.
Spending Time Apart: Having a life separate from each other or even having “time-outs” helps to build desire, healthy boundaries, and independent growth. You know that saying: “Distance makes the heart grow fonder?” For example, David has his martial arts practice, while Lindsey has her Yoga practice.
Creating Quality Time: At the same time, creating shared experiences builds connection. For example, we’ve taken professional development courses together such as “Life Skills Coaching” and we like to build time for each other despite what we think are busy schedules!
Balancing Challenge and Support: Challenging and supporting each other has helped to promote healthy boundaries and growth. This usually happens as we're getting ready for bed. We tend to touch base about self, career, leisure, and family aspirations, thoughts, or concerns. We also use Tea(m) Time for this.
Exercising and Moving: Movement helps with physical and overall health, which is one of our core values. This has looked differently throughout the years. Lately, we’ve been taking the first 5 minutes of our morning for yoga. We also do our own physical activity throughout the week and walk whenever we can. For example, we've been doing Funk Robert’s 10 minute bodyweight workout whenever we feel like it!
Making Food Fun: We love food and also try to make food prep fun as well! We reserve a few hours on weekends for team meal prepping for the week and, when we’re home, we ensure that we have breakfast and dinner together without any major distractions (shout out to Lindsey’s Dad for always emphasizing that the family should eat together and at the same table!).
Playing: Play is connected to happiness as well. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, we’ll sometimes be plain silly, adventurous, or spontaneous, just like kids do. Check out our post, Make Time for Play, for inspiration.
Forgiving and Understanding: When s*** hits the fan in the relationship and we become frustrated, we try our best to debrief and extract lessons. Ultimately, we're try to be mindful about keeping the ego in check and gracefully return to a place of presence. We’ve found that relationship coaching helps with this. Want to work with us? Check us out!
What works for our relationship, might not work for yours, but we hope that there might be one or two little things that you can use to make big (positive) changes in your relationship(s)! If anything, we hope you've enjoyed learning more about our relationship and the intentionality that we put forward each day through these little practices.
Reflection & Action
What routines or habits do you use?
What did you think about this post? Did anything surprise you?
Do you have any questions about any of the little things we've suggested/implemented in our relationship?
We'd love to see your ideas and/or questions on our social accounts (see links in the boxes below!) or on our closed Facebook group. Don’t forget to use the #RelationshipZen if you’d like us to share your thoughts!
Sending you love and light,