Of all your relationships, the one you have with your romantic partner likely requires more work. To stay happily together long term, you need to put effort into things like attunement and managing conflict—and that’s in addition to handling outside stressors like work and finances as a team. With so much going in the world, it’s easy to let your relationship fall through the cracks and just assume that everything is okay.
If you want your partnership to thrive this year, you both need to be intentional about investing in it. Like a bank account, you need to actively and consistently make deposits to help your relational wealth grow. It won’t happen on its own.
Here are a few ways to invest in your relationship and get intentional about your happily ever after.
Go to Couples Counseling
Therapy isn’t just for people in crisis. Preventative care can go a long way in addressing smaller needs and overcoming everyday obstacles. For example, a counselor can help you manage stress, reignite the spark in your bedroom, or raise children going through difficult stages. Also, a counselor can assess your relationship for areas that may seem insignificant now but could become major issues later on. You can head off conflict before it happens with preemptive inventions learned in the therapy room. Find a couples therapist trained in the Gottman Method or scroll through Psychology Today. You both can see pictures, read profiles, and see if they’re a good fit. Also, you can connect with a therapist about their in-person or telehealth options, rates, and whether or not they take insurance (knowing how to financially budget for routine therapy will help you stick with it longer). With professional help, you can turn any weak spots in your partnership into your strengths as a couple.
Dive into Relationship Self-Help
Let’s say you’re aware of the areas where you and your partner could use some specific help. Maybe conflict spins out of control or you’re wondering how to build a life together. There’s a guide for that, and we have many of them. Thanks to more than 40 years of research into relationships and what makes them work, The Relationship Coach is the at-home, self-paced program your partnership needs.
Want the basics? Check out How to Make Your Relationship Work. Can’t seem to stop arguing? Definitely get into Dealing with Conflict. Or maybe it’s not so heavy, and you just need fresh ideas about sharing fondness and admiration. Go for Loving Out Loud. There’s so much more, and each program includes videos, tips, and exercises by Drs. John and Julie Gottman meant to get your relationship to where you want it to be. Go to Gottman Connect to learn more and see which Coach is right for you.
Find Easy Relationship Boosters
If you and your sweetheart are coasting along fine but just need reminders to connect, there are many low-cost or free options out there to give your love a boost. Sometimes all you need is to commit to regular date nights. For example, every Friday night, you and your partner will enjoy two hours of uninterrupted time alone either at home or out on the town (get some great date ideas here). Don’t forget to take along our free card app to get the conversation going.
Consider getting love advice sent right to your email. You can both sign up for newsletters such as the Marriage Minute, Love Notes, or The Gottman Relationship Blog. Discuss the topics that come up in them and see what you can do to implement the tips and tools in your everyday interactions. If you want a more intensive challenge, sign up for 30 Days to a Better Relationship.
Here at the Gottman Institute, we believe that small things often make a big difference. That goes for investing in your relationship too. So whether it’s a weekly check-in with a couples counselor or date night with a card app, find out how you can make deposits into the wealth of your relationship. You’ll see dividends in love.
The Gottman Institute’s Editorial Team is composed of staff members who contribute to the Institute’s overall message. It is our mission to reach out to individuals, couples, and families in order to help create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.