A best friend is someone you enjoy spending time with, and with whom you share your innermost thoughts, dreams and desires. It’s even better when BFF is your boo. But even the best of love connections can turn sour when tempers flare and tiffs turn into tirades. If you’re feeling like you’re slowly losing your best friend to a perpetual cycle of fights and make-ups, and your once-happy relationship is on the brink of a breakup, it’s time to get back to basics and reclaim the friendship that once created the spark for love.
Dr. Tara Fields, a licensed marriage and family therapist, offers advice for bickering couples in The Love Fix: Repair and Restore Your Relationship Right Now. Her take on how to rekindle the most important part of your romance — your friendship — in three simple yet powerful steps will have you back to being best buds in no time.
Give Your Spouse or Partner a Daily Dose of Gratitude
Most relationships begin in that blissful state where the focus is solely on all of the awesome traits our loved one possesses. But then, little by little, we stop noticing these things and instead start focusing on the negative attributes that grind on our nerves. Tara says that over time our brains are rewired to only see what they’re doing wrong instead of what they are doing right. We focus on the things we dislike about our partners instead of those things we used to love about them.
When love gives way to anger and frustration and you start to feel as if you’re constantly walking on eggshells so as not to ignite another fight, you might feel at a complete loss as to how to even approach your partner to seek out their participation in revitalizing your relationship. But one of the easiest ways to begin the process of rebuilding your friendship is as simple as giving up a compliment or two. It’s funny how we forget just how far a simple compliment can go when it comes to making someone you love. “Share your gratitude face-to-face, scribble your sentiments on a Post-it and stick it on the bathroom mirror or send a thank you via text. Just find one nice thing to say to your spouse or partner face-to-face every day,” Tara says.
This isn’t an invitation to start grilling your partner about how they spent every moment they weren’t in your presence, but rather, it’s a simple exercise that can help pave the way to show your bae just how interested your are in what’s going in their life. It’s as simple as asking your S.O. about their day at the office or how they fared during their grueling morning spin class.
“Don’t unload all the highs and lows of your day first,” Tara cautions. “Instead, focus on being a set of listening ears. When your spouse or partner comes home at the end of the day and has had a chance to change clothes, relax and get settled, ask: ‘Did you have a nice day?’ ‘How’s that project at work going?’ ‘Did you have that conversation with your boss?'” The simple act of being interested in their world can help reclaim your friendship when you feel as though you and honey have grown so far apart that you’re leading separate, parallel lives.
Find Time for Physical Affection
This may sound like a total no-brainer, but the power of touch can be just the spark that an increasingly volatile relationship needs to jumpstart a fading friendship. Touch is one of the most powerful tools we have in our human arsenal of communication, and it’s the secret weapon in building a successful relationship.
“Everyone has different needs and desires, but we all have some degree of what I call ‘skin hunger,’ a desire to be touched physically,” Tara says. “Find a way to express some physical love with your partner each and every day. This might translate into a kiss before work or a hug when he or she arrives home. If you’ve grown apart, take it slow. Even a gentle kiss on the forehead or holding her or his hand during a movie can restart the process of physical connection.”
What steps do you take to reclaim your friendship with your mate? Tweet us at @BritandCo and let us know!
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