Remember your first date? He picked you up at 7pm, sharp. You went to the bathroom and texted your friends because you were nervous and didn’t know what to talk about. Your first kiss was one for the (Nicholas Sparks) books. No matter how magical and Taylor Swift song-worthy the beginning of your relationship is, the honeymoon stage comes to an end at some time or another. Maybe you’ve gotten into a monotonous routine — or maybe you’re harboring some pent-up resentment. Most relationships need a reset every once in a while, so we talked with Theresa Herring, a licensed marriage and family therapist, who has some tips for starting fresh with your boo.
All relationships have ebbs and flows. “It’s not uncommon for couples to slip into a relationship rut,” Herring said. “People get sidetracked by the day-to-day grind and stop prioritizing the relationship.” When you feel yourself needing a reset, don’t panic. In fact, the need to refocus on your relationship can actually be a good thing. “Rather than being the death knell of a relationship, think of it was a wake-up call,” she said. “It’s time to re-prioritize the relationship, and focus on connecting with your partner.” Here are four ways Herring recommends to help you reconnect as a couple.
1. Define what you want in your relationship. “If you don’t have a direction, you’ll likely continue going around in circles,” Herring said. In order to see results, set measurable and specific goals for what you want your relationship to look like. For example, if you want to feel more adventurous together, plan a trip. If you want to spend more quality time together, resolve to turn off your phones on dates.
2. Create good habits. “When it comes to relationships, it’s the everyday habits that matter most,” Herring said. “Set aside time to check in with your partner every day.” That means putting your phone down and focusing solely on your partner. A great way to complement this check-in is by actively listening, which forces you to listen to understand, rather than to respond. If you choose to check in each day, you will form habits that will help you and your partner feel more connected.
3. Respond to your partner’s attempts to connect. It might sound silly, but a great way to re-connect with your boo is to simply respond to them. When they say something to you, say something back. If your partner reaches for your hand, reach back. “When we acknowledge our partner’s attempts to connect, we are saying that they matter and the relationship is important to us,” Herring said. “This is crucial to having a happy, healthy relationship.”
4. Consider therapy. Therapy can really be for everyone — not just people or couples who are struggling. Therapy can be a way to talk about and address any concerns early on, before they get to the point of being relationship dealbreakers. Licensed marriage and family therapists have great techniques for improving connection and communication and can help hold you and your partner accountable for improvement.
How do you and your boo hit the relationship reset button? Let us know @BritandCo!
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