Well-Being//

8 Creative Ways to Invest in Your Relationship

It’s never too late to strengthen your romantic connection.

FotografiaBasica/Getty Images
FotografiaBasica/Getty Images

Our romantic relationships are one of our richest sources of joy, meaning, and fulfillment, but with the many distractions and stressors we face at work and on our screens, it’s all too easy for us to take our partners for granted. Like many things in life, it takes two to nurture a long-lasting, emotionally strong relationship. Julianne Moore recently opened up to People about what she’s learned from her 16-year marriage to director Bart Freundlich about building a thriving relationship.

“We have this narrative in our culture that if you want a career, you have to work hard, go to school, look for a job, you have to apply yourself but love is supposed to just happen to you. One day you’re going to meet someone and get hit over the head and boom!”, she said. “That happens in romantic comedies, but in real life you have to make time. When you find a person, you have to invest in them and that relationship. And that’s what love is.”

So we asked members of the Thrive Global community to share the creative ways they invest in their relationships. Which method will you try?

Discuss your weekly highs and lows

“My wife and I have a weekly check-in ritual that we really enjoy. Every Sunday, we go out to a nice coffee shop and review the highs and lows of our week. We make it a point to withhold judgment and listen for things that might be bubbling up under the surface. It only takes about an hour, and it’s really helped us stay close and keep small issues from turning into larger ones.”

—Robby Macdonell, CEO, Nashville, TN

Leave positive reminders for each other

“My husband and I are newly married, and will be celebrating two years in August 2019. One little way that we nurture our relationship is through leaving sticky notes for each other. My husband leaves me one every single morning with a little greeting to start my day on a positive note. I also try to do the same for him if I’m the first one out the door.”

—Reegan Hebert, community impact investment manager, York County, ME

Keep it playful and leave room to grow

“Laugh, learn, and grow. In addition to laughing often, I kiss my partner daily, play morning pranks, and try to stay interested when he shares stories about his work day. I enjoy doing things together, but it’s also important to let him do what he likes independently. He enjoys rollerblading with friends, playing guitar, and watching TV, while I enjoy traveling the globe, growing my business, and reading. Our unique and shared interests give us the opportunity to learn together and the freedom to grow independently.”

—April Choi, real estate investor/coach, Decatur, GA

Remind each other what you’ve been through

“My husband and I rarely get to see each other because we both have busy schedules. With two boys who are constantly in need of something, holding a conversation for more than 30 seconds is a pipe dream. But when realize that we really need to be alone, we take a long drive and remind each other where we’ve been together and what we’ve been through, and talk about the week. It helps ground us and bring us back to where we want to be. The boys are so relaxed that they either they take a nap in the backseat or look out the window, enjoying the beautiful ocean views.”  

—Nazia DeFrank, CEO, Lynbrook, New York

Follow this generous mantra

“Here’s my rule for getting the most out of a relationship: ‘Whatever I want from a relationship, give more.’”

—Joshua Spodek, PhD MBA, author, New York, NY

Never stop learning about the other

“My sweetheart and I have been married for 39 years, and have had three kids, job changes, and health crises. We’re still deeply in love with each other. I believe that our success comes from each of us always trying to understand the other. We also tend to each other in small ways that show we care. We’re intentionally mindful and present.”

—Dr. Alan Viau, director, public services procurement, Canada

Go on goal-setting retreats

“My husband and I are very intentional about spending quality time together doing new things.  We take at least four big trips together (once every season). We use President’s Day weekend to escape to a cabin in the woods to plan out all of our trips for the upcoming year. We’re also incredibly intentional about goal-setting. We take a full day during our New Year’s trip to reflect on our year, the progress we’re making towards our lifetime goals, and to set ones for the upcoming year. It’s been such a positive experience that our friends have started asking us to include them in our goal setting retreats!”

—Sharon Podobnik Peterson, leadership coach, business owner, Washington, DC

Learn new skills that benefit both of you

“Years ago, my partner and I decided to give up exchanging traditional, store-bought holiday gifts. Instead, we individually invest our time learning something new throughout the year that will benefit our relationship, the other person, and each of us individually. We choose, learn, and practice our new skills without telling each other what our chosen area of proficiency is. Then, when the holidays come, we reveal what we’ve learned through real-world demonstrations. One year my wife learned billiards — my lifelong passion — so well that she now regularly outscores me. A few days later, hours before a holiday party we attended, she was rushing out of the house to get her hair blown out. I told her I would do it for her, as I had spent the past year learning how. Together we’ve learned to speak French and Spanish, basic EMT skills, apply makeup, nearly master martial arts, cook, and so many other life skills that have uplifted our time and life as a true partnership.”

—Raymond Bechard, author, producer, and human rights advocate, New York, NY

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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