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As a relationship continues to grow over time, partners can notice how their relationship may change. Usually, this is when you become more comfortable with your significant other and feel they understand you and you have a similar comprehension about who they are. They may know about your favorite order at a restaurant, or you may remember how they won the spelling bee in 3rd grade. This is ideal, and shows how much you and your partner have paid attention to one another, and how much you’ve learned about each other.Overall, as relationships grow and change, people do as well; whether you have been with your partner for a while now, or are starting to get to know a partner. In this blog, I will share three activities for you and your partner to try as a way of (re)discovering each other through communicating about the positive aspects you each add to the relationship.

Appreciating Strengths

In relationships, recognizing your partner’s strengths and how they contribute to the relationship is valuable. Often, these strengths could be what Initially drew you to your significant other, but it is possible to take these qualities for granted and overlook them. As a couple, by verbally appreciating how your partner succeeds in keeping the relationship strong and satisfying, you are highlighting them and their positive qualities. This activity is about identifying your partner’s strengths then describing a memory that showcases them. First, you and your partner will individually list 5-7 strengths about each other. An example of strengths can include humor, intelligence, patience and more. After creating this list, you each will choose three of the strengths and share a memory of a moment your partner demonstrated this strength. The goal of this activity is to help you and your partner be seen in the relationship and bring you closer as a couple by recognizing your individual strengths together.

Exploring Gratitude

As stated previously, there are some things you can take for granted in a relationship. Another way of showing your partner you appreciate them is by practicing gratitude. What it means to practice gratitude is to recognize how your partner is being seen in the relationship. There are a multitude of ways to practice gratitude: give your partner compliments, show genuine interest in the things in their life, surprise them, or simply put more effort in expressing manners. You would want to show some form of gratitude every day, just to show you care. If you find it difficult to manage showing pieces of gratitude every day, you could keep a gratitude journal or a list to encourage you. This journal or list can be dated for every day of the week asking yourself, “how did I show my partner I appreciate them today?” or, “I help my partner by…,” or, “I was thankful when my partner…” Prompts like these can help you notice the little (or big) things in the relationship and remind your partner they are memorable.

Recognizing Shared Qualities

Similar to Recognizing Strengths, this last activity is about discussing possible shared experiences, beliefs and values. However, the focus will be on the relationship rather than each other as individuals. You and your partner will chat about interesting topics like music or books you both enjoy then progress to more serious topics such as expectations and motivations you share as a couple. You will name 3 responses to each prompt. For example, a prompt could be, “Our pet peeves are…” then you will discuss with one another any pet peeves you both shared. More examples include: “We value this in our relationship,” “Our favorite things to do together,” and “Goals for our future.” There are several topics you can discuss with each other and no couple is the same. At the end of this activity, you would have the opportunity to communicate actively as well as reflect on the strengths in your relationships.

Getting to know your partner is a continuous process. It does not end because we are constantly evolving as people, having new interests and experiencing new things. If you would like to learn more ways to communicate with your partner, consider the therapists at Optimum Joy. Here we welcome the opportunity to support you in growing well-rounded and healthy relationships. Call today to set up your first appointment!

Written by therapist Bria McCalpin

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