If you’re looking for ways to help love grow in your relationship, you’re in luck. There are all sorts of things you can do as a couple, and new habits you can adopt, to make your bond stronger. And what’s even better is these tips can be applied at any time, during any stage of your relationship.
They can be a great way to keep your love going, throughout the years. But they’re especially helpful if you happen to be feeling disconnected, unsure, or unhappy. “Many couples get into set routines and the relationship turns stale and predictable. Then, they grow apart,” Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. “It’s always possible to increase your bond with your partner and there are many ways you can accomplish it.”
If things are starting to go south, noticing the signs is the first step in turning it all around. “Even the decision to strengthen a bond is itself an act of bonding and a sign that the relationship will be happy in the years to come,” Bennett says. With that in mind, read on below for a few effective ways to help love grow in your relationship, according to experts.
1. Cuddle More Often
It’s not always possible to be in a cuddling type of mood, and that’s OK. But if your relationship could use a boost, it can help to spend some more quality time together, and be a bit more intimate.
“Whenever you get close to your partner physically, it releases a hormone in the brain called oxytocin,” Bennett says. “It is known for bonding people together, but it can do so much more, including creating trust [and] increasing generosity.”
It’s a bonding experience, and one you two may want to try more often, as a way of staying close.
2. Make Eye Contact
It may sound strange, but simply making more eye contact can help love grow in your relationship, especially if you do so intentionally.
“Research has shown that extended periods of eye contact can increase your feelings of love and passion for your partner,” Bennett says. “So, there is a lot of truth to the old romantic notion of staring into the eyes of the one you love.”
3. Have A New Experience
“Research has shown that trying new and exciting things on a regular basis increases relationship satisfaction,” Bennett says. And the key here is “new and exciting.”
While it’s always nice to go to the movies or out to dinner, make sure you occasionally do things that are more challenging, or outside your comfort zones. This has been shown to boost your connection even more, and help you fall deeper in love.
4. Express Love & Appreciation
To keep the love alive in your relationship, it’ll be important not to take each other for granted. And one way to ensure that never happens is by showing appreciation.
“Try to spark joy in your partner’s life every once in a while by randomly surprising them with a little gift or favor you’re doing for them,” dating expert Celia Schweyer, tells Bustle. However you’d like to show the love, doing so can make a huge difference.
5. Keep Asking Questions
There’s always more you can learn about each other’s lives, so even if you’ve been together forever, don’t ever stop asking questions. “Constantly learn and relearn their hopes, dreams, fears, desires,” Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. “Don’t assume they are static — talk to them about it.” By communicating more, asking questions, and updating each other frequently, you will feel closer.
6. Hang Out More Often
One of the simplest ways to boost your love is to simply spend time together. “Do activities that only involve the two of you,” Dr. Klapow says. “This will give your life parts that are unique to the two of you.”
And that, in turn, will nurture the relationship, which is the entire goal when it comes to boosting your love. As Dr. Klapow says, “Relationships need nurturing and work to become strong and remain strong.” So hang out more, eat dinner together, plan date nights, and you will feel more connected.
7. Solve Problems Together
While you might be tempted to solve problems all by your lonesome, it can actually be good for your relationship if you ask for a little help.
“The act of being successful together and overcoming problems will bring you closer,” Dr. Klapow says. Whatever the issue may be, approach it as a couple, listen to each other’s ideas, and then bask in the feeling of closeness that results.
8. Pay Attention & Give Attention
When you get busy with the stuff of daily life — work, friends, family stuff, etc. — it can be tough to give your partner enough attention. And yet, slowing down and truly focusing on each other can do wonders for your relationship.
As Dr. Klapow says, “On a daily basis, take the opportunities to support your partner, to compliment them, to be a part of smaller events in their lives. Frequent, small connections strengthen the bonds between people and can enhance the feelings of love.”
9. Show More Empathy
It can be difficult to show your partner empathy, since you spend so much time together and are so deeply involved in each other’s lives. But making an effort to do so — even when times are tough — will help love grow.
And there are dozens of places to start. As Schweyer says, “Give more attention to [your partner’s] tone and gesture, so you can learn to identify [their] moods and needs. Be caring, interested, as well as compassionate and understanding.”
10. See The Big Picture
While it can be tempting to blame each other when things go wrong, it’s important to keep an open mind, and see the bigger picture.
“Very often couples get locked into a situation because there are deeper, more personal reasons that have not surfaced,” Dr. Klapow says. “Be willing to consider that what is keeping you stuck may be a more serious individual problem that needs to be addressed.”
Be honest about that, and give each other time and room to do a little soul-searching. And your relationship will still healthier.
11. Deal With Problems As They Arise
To keep the love alive in your relationship, you’ll both want to prevent resentment from building by addressing issues and arguments as they arise.
“When two people get together and [potentially] live with each other, it is impossible to never have disagreements,” Schweyer says. “[But] by talking to each other in a serious and understanding manner, different opinions are less likely to [result in a fight.]”
Relationships can be tough, but doing little things like this will not only keep your connection healthy and strong, but it’ll allow you to both feel loved and nurtured