• Tips for Staying Connected in Your Relationship

    1. Be present. Pay attention to what is happening in the moment. When your partner speaks, tune in and really listen to thoughts and feelings. Resist the temptation to predict where any conversation is going. Make eye contact when your mate is talking. Pay attention, and respond with interest.

    2. Show your appreciation. Say “I love you” every day. Offer up an original compliment. Express gratitude about something your mate has done. Such simple steps can make a big difference in a long-term relationship — and get a new one going even stronger.

    3. Speak with kindness. When having a discussion, communicate clearly and listen intently. If emotions become heated, agree to take a break for a few minutes then come back to begin discussing with greater focus and calmness. Avoid blame and contempt. Learn how to agree to disagree if necessary.

    4. Touch. Touching your partner in a casual way — taking his arm as you head to the car, holding her hand when you walk the dog — is a surefire way to draw the two of you closer. And experts report that touch has a lasting effect: Have you ever felt you were carrying that feeling you get from a partner’s touch through the rest of your day? If touch is not automatic for you, practice it more with the intention of connecting with your partner.

    5. Have a daily “check-in.” Set aside five minutes from each day to talk with your partner about anything other than work and family, the condition of the household or the state of your relationship. How about discussing a dream — or a dream destination — and starting to plan how you might reach it?

    6. Show affection. Small gestures of intimacy lead to larger ones. Kiss your mate goodbye in the morning and hello on returning home. Check in during the day to say “Thinking about you.” Do something unexpected to help out. Plan a surprise date. Know and use your partner’s “love language”.

    7. Dive deep. Really know your partner. If you’re dating someone new, ask more telling questions: “Is there a place that really inspires you?” “Which causes are you most passionate about?” “When did you feel most deeply in love?” If you’re in a long term relationship, continue to learn about your
    partner. People change. Don’t assume that you know everything about your partner and what is important to her or him.

    8. Ask for what you want. Instead of assuming that your partner will give you what you want or need, ask for it. Your partner can’t read your mind. Ask without expecting your partner to meet your every need. Don’t take it personally if the response is sometimes “no”. This goes for sexual requests too.

    9. Make physical intimacy a priority. Sex is important in young and lifetime relationships. How you express yourself sexually may change over the lifetime. Stay open to exploring with your partner. Develop and use good sexual communication. Respect each other’s desires and honor your own. If
    your partner isn’t in the mood in the moment, agree to be affectionate or intimate in other ways. Then make time to be sexual at a time when both are in the mood.

    9. Make your bedroom a sacred space. Keep your bedroom neat and comfortable. Make it inviting. No cellphones, TVs or laptops. Quality intimate time should not have to compete for your focus — your partner’s — with a glowing screen, big or small. Keep the bedroom off limits for arguments.

    10. Stay healthy. Research shows that people who take care of themselves with good hygiene, nutrition and exercise have sex more often — and are more likely to enjoy it when they do.

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