With everything going on in the life of the average couple, it’s easy to forget the small gestures that keep a relationship ticking. What most couples don’t realize, though, is that it doesn’t take much to help your partner feel more valued every day. “Stringing together these little things is an ongoing way to make change in your relationship,” The expert tricks here can fit easily into any routine—in minutes you’ll be on your way to building a stronger connection and lasting bond over time
Turn off your smartphone
If you’re glued to Facebook during dinner, then it’s time to unplug. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior looked at data from 1,160 married people and found a negative correlation between heavy social media use and relationship happiness. “When angry, some people may turn to texting to avoid saying something,” “It’s a way of creating distance.” While it doesn’t hurt to send a flirty or loving message, it does pay off to be more direct with your partner when something is really eating at you.
Go to bed at the same time
Feel like you never have a free moment together? Hitting the sack at the same time will help. “Bedtime might be the only opportunity you’re alone together all day,” How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time. Even if you’re a night owl, you can always stay in bed until your partner drifts off. You should also make sure you’re both getting a healthy amount of shut-eye. A study from the University of California, Berkeley looked at the sleep habits of more than 100 couples. Those who reported poor sleep were much more likely to argue with their significant other the next day.
Bring up a funny moment from your past
Sometimes the best memories are the funny ones. In Motivation and Emotion study, couples that remembered laughing together—like the time a grocery store clerk did something funny in the checkout line—reported greater relationship satisfaction than those who remembered experiences that were positive, but not necessarily when they’d laughed. “Laughter reminiscence packs an additional punch because people relive the moment by laughing again,”
Work up a sweat
It’s no secret that getting buff helps you out in the bedroom by boosting your endurance, strength, and flexibility—but a sweat session also has more immediate effects. “Endorphins from exercise give you an adrenaline rush that boosts arousal,” . Activities that get your heart rate up, like hiking, running, or biking, are guaranteed to have a positive effect on desire. “Any kind of arousal rush can be transferred to your partner and add passion to your relationship,”
Dance before dinner time
Couples who frequently try new things together have higher-quality relationships, . And we’re not necessarily talking extreme activities like skydiving or traveling to an exotic corner of the world (though those work too)—the activities simply should be new to the two of you, and can last for as little as 7 minutes, researchers say. Dinnertime is one moment it’s easy to try something new. Turn on some catchy music while you’re cooking and start dancing together, . Or you could try a new a cooking technique
Have sex in a different place
Getting busy often enough to satisfy you both is key. If you’re feeling so-so about your bedroom romps, it might be time for a change. One idea: try having sex in a room or area you’ve never done it in. “New elements of play stimulate the dopamine system,” . “When you do something that causes you to release more dopamine, it’s a positive reinforcer.” Want to suggest a tryst in the kitchen? Don’t worry about making it a drawn-out conversation, It can be as simple as a one-liner that hints at your intention like, “The kids are gone. How about the kitchen table?” As long as your partner is game for the idea too, nothing’s stopping you.
Give your partner a hug
Nonsexual touching like hugging or handholding is just as important as sex itself in keeping your relationship healthy. “Touching is probably the most definitive way to let other people know you’re in a relationship,'” . In the long run, the more you touch your mate, the more you’ll feel comfortable with each other. “Touching is a way we calm ourselves down,” . “Every time you do it, you’re sending a positive message to your significant other.”
All the best in your relationship.