Just like that sweet little vegetable patch in your backyard, the more you nurture and nourish your relationship the happier you’ll both be. And what does that look like? Quality nourishment requires pausing, listening, and paying attention to your partner. It requires that you learn to love people in ways that are meaningful to them and listen when they tell you what their needs are. Here are 10 ways you can nudge your relationship into a happier, healthier, more fulfilling version of itself.
1. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not and just be yourself insteadWhen we are who we really truly are – weird hobbies and all – magic happens. Being true to ourselves allows us to navigate life and relationships free of hangups, emotional baggage, or expectations. In the beginning stages of relationships, many of us focus on showcasing our best selves in an attempt to garner love and affection. We become ridiculously, painfully focused on making a good impression. But being who you really are and being who you think someone wants you to be – it’s hard to do those two things simultaneously. Take a deep breath, release those shoulders, and stop pretending and polishing yourself. Just be right here, who you are, today.
2. Smile at your loved oneTo the best of your ability, greet your partner with a smile when you see each other for the first time that day. Imagine how good that would feel – after a tough day at work and sitting in traffic, you walk through the door and are greeted with a smile and a kiss from the person you love most. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to start your evening?
This is not to say you’re never allowed to share the low points of your day, but maybe save them for dinner – rather than the first five minutes that you see your sweetie. Other great times to smile at your partner: across a crowded party, before you part ways for the day, when you know they need encouragement.
3. Realize things changeWe’re living, breathing organisms – subject to the changing tides of emotion and circumstance. It can be emotionally crippling to get too attached to the “status quo” – not just in your romantic relationships but in life. Change is inevitable. Next week your partner might wake up and want to change careers, move to the east coast, or have kids (like, soon). Can you allow space for that? Could you create a new life with him while he pursued something new? And, of course, things will change for you – your passions, your career, your family, your health. When your partner tells you that they’ve got some big changes in mind – a new workout plan, a move to the country, no more dairy – do your best to listen with an open mind and heart.
4. Work out togetherExercise gives you energy and is a wonderful way to show your partner that you’re interested in your health and you want to stay healthy for them. Trying new workouts together also helps you bond! Take a couple’s yoga class, a hip hop dance class, or try rock climbing. Even if you’re terrible, later you’ll be able to laugh together about his terrible downward dog or your total failure to pop ‘n lock.
5. If you want quality time with your significant other, plan itYou’ve heard this advice before and that’s because it works! Make time for thrilling, exciting things – not just birthdays and anniversaries. As your weekend winds down, take a few minutes to schedule in at least one fun date each week – whether that’s trying a new restaurant, going for a hike, or catching a movie at the second-run theater. Fun things happen when you make time and space for them.
6. Express your needsSome people like to text every day. Some people need a lot of alone time. Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates. All of these needs are equally legitimate. But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell them. You don’t need to open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say, “I want you to feel loved and appreciated. How can I do that?” and when you’ve heard their suggestions, you can share yours. When they do what you asked? Offer lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.
7. Give without any expectationsI know it’s incredibly tempting (so tempting!) to keep a mental list of all the nice things you’ve done for your sweetie.
8. Don’t stop caring about how you look!Male or female, we’ve all done this, right? Constantly hanging out in our old gym clothes and dirty hair, eating pizza for dinner three times a week. You want to find your partner attractive and – not surprisingly – they want to find you attractive. Help them do that by keeping up with your workouts and saving the sweatpants for alone time.
9. Cultivate intimacy and independenceIt might sound counterintuitive but you can connect while also retaining autonomy. Don’t stop doing the things that filled you up now that you’ve found a partner. Keep attending those pottery classes, keep working on your novel – and keep telling your partner all about it and why you love it. Just as important? Give them the space to pursue a few passions without you. You’ll both be that much more excited to come home and tell each other about your adventures.
10. Inspire your partner by loving yourself fiercelyThe more you love yourself, the more others will follow your lead. We’ve all witnessed it: the confident woman who maintains healthy boundaries always seems to attract amazing partners. Do your best to identify your needs and meet those needs yourself. Need creative inspiration? Rather than trying to date an artist or force your accountant boyfriend to take drawing classes, buy a DSLR and get to shooting. Crave a more active social life? Don’t hassle your introverted girlfriend into house parties and nights out. Call up your most outgoing friends and schedule a night out, complete with cute shoes and cocktails. We teach people how to treat us and when you nourish yourself with love and respect, the world – and your partner – take notice.
The Supreme Lover
The Goodness of God means that God gives us what we need for our perfection, not what we want for our pleasure and sometimes for our destruction. As a sculptor, He sometimes applies the chisel to the marble of our imperfect selves and knocks off huge chunks of selfishness that His image may better stand revealed. Like a musician, whenever He finds the strings too loose on the violin of our personality, He tightens them even though it hurts, that we may better reveal our hidden harmonies. As the Supreme Lover of our soul, He does care how we act and think and speak. What father does not want to be proud of his son? If the father speaks with authority now and then to his son, it is not because he is a dictator, but because he wants him to be a worthy son. Not even progressive parents, who deny discipline and restraint, are indifferent to the progress of their children. So long as there is love, there is necessarily a desire for the perfecting of the beloved. That is precisely the way God's goodness manifests itself to us. God really loves us and, because He loves us, He is not disinterested. He no more wants you to be unhappy than your own parents want you to be unhappy. God made you not for His happiness, but for yours, and to ask God to be satisfied with most of us as we really are, is to ask that God cease to love.
We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.
O Lord Jesus, who has said, learn of me for I am meek and gentle of heart, and who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desires to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.
Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin
O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before you to venerate your Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross, and through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to you. O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of your Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen.
Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory
My Jesus, by the sorrows you suffered in your agony in the garden, in your scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to your most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen.
Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be.
O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)