How to stay close
Part one

part one of a three part series on How to stay close in a relationship

Want to know how to stay close in your relationship? There are three key strategies.  This articles talks about the first strategy.  

Strategy #1: Be Great Friends!

You cannot have a close relationship with your spouse if you are not great friends. When I work with couples on communication, for example, I often have to remind them to listen to each other as if they were really good friends. Our spouses, when we’re hurt and angry, often become the enemy. We stop wanting to understand each other and end up battling for being right and having our own needs met. Work on cultivating a great friendship by:

  • Regularly updating your knowledge about each other – Good friends know details about each other’s preferences. These may be things like their favorite books or movies, names of coworkers who bug them, most scary, embarrassing, or humorous moments, major childhood events, favorite food/restaurants, etc. When we lose that knowledge about each other, we stop seeing each other as separate individuals with their own unique interests and points of view. Recognizing and appreciating these differences are what keeps each other interesting. 
  • Regularly playing together – Couples who play together generally stay together. This is because they’re constantly laughing or doing new and exciting things together. Whether it is Salsa dancing or sky diving, get out there and have a ball! Couples also build on their shared values by going to church, volunteering or exercising together. Couples do not need to share everything in common but having one or two things they really love to do together builds deep connection. 
  • Regularly expressing your appreciation and admiration - Start speaking those loving words to each other. In my experience, many people do not realize how much their spouse really does admire and appreciate them. You must on a daily basis express something. Send a text, write a note or buy a silly card. Don’t overlook anniversaries and birthdays! It’s such a great opportunity to spoil your partner with flowers and little gifts (or big ones!). Pat your lover’s butt as they walk by and say thanks for loading the dishwasher. Be grateful and see the good in each other. When you’re annoyed at a certain habit, remind yourself of all the good things about your partner. 
  • Regularly Turning Toward Your Partner - It’s important to recognize when your partner wants to connect. Don't ignore your partner when s/he expresses feelings, thoughts about their day or something they're observing. Acknowledge their invitations to go places and respond to those non-verbal gestures expressing a desire for affection.

Here's an Exercise To Try in How to Stay Close:

Talk together about ways you each seek out connection with each other. Tell each other what you really like about when they respond (turn toward you). Also share what you appreciate/admire about each other and talk about what you’d like to do for fun together.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the series How to Have a Close Relationship. Here's a hint-- It's about sex (among other things...)!

If you want even more information on communication and keeping your relationship close and happy, download my e-book for only 99 cents!