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Sex + Relationships

Little Gestures Matters: #5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

From plans to active listening, learn what can be essential to improve a relationship

The feeling of affection – and the relationships that permeate it – is one of the world’s greatest sources for speculations, adaptations and inspirations. After all, how many books, movies, songs and works that try to portray the complexity of human relationships do we know? Surely, many. Perhaps countless.

However, far from the idealization of movies and literature, the aspects that build romantic relationships are quite distinct and full of layers. Naturally, we are led to think that the other person should act like we would, as if it was the only possible way to deal with situations. Over time, this ends up generating conflicts and wearing out the relationship. But then, how to find a healthy balance between the differences that we have with our partner? In addition, how to fix the possible problems that could arise?

Although it is a process of getting to know the other person and yourself – a unique path that varies from person to person, since we all carry individual baggage of feelings, characteristics and traumas –, there are common points that can help a relationship go through the difficulties innate to human beings.

Even if considered “small gestures”, these actions can raise the mood and bring back the “brightness” of the bond that may have been lost over time or due to difficulties and distance:

Getting to know new places together

When visiting different places, the feeling of discovery and excitement with new perspectives can be something healthy and positive for the relationship. The practice will spark new topics and conversations, which can result in new common interests and passions for the couple.

A restaurant, park, museum or café can become a tradition and a destination that brings back an affective and meaningful memory for both of you. The curiosity and anticipation to explore new places, take different trips, and get to know different cultures creates a bond of belonging and keeps the routine of two people joyful and diverse.

It is important to emphasize that it is not always necessary to spend money on expensive trips and excursions to put this gesture into practice. It is possible to visit new places and get to know other things without spending a lot of money! All that is needed is good planning, organization and knowing what you two cherish and would like to venture further into.

Being transparent with (all) feelings

In relationships, everything we keep to ourselves can end up becoming something bigger and more complicated if we don’t let the feeling out. Even if it is something negative, such as anger, annoyance – or deeper topics –, it is important to be extremely honest with your partner.

Even if being transparent creates conflict or difficulties, it is better to solve the issue completely by getting the hurt out of you. With a lot of effort, you can prevent it from becoming something bigger in the future.

We will not always feel good things while in a relationship. It is natural to the human condition to experience many facets in one person. Though it can be scary, it is important to know how to express, with respect and in the right way, all your feelings with someone.

Finding a common hobby

From watching series and movies to cooking and producing something together, finding a common hobby can make a big difference on your relationship’s quality time. Since you are putting effort and attention into the same activity, it can create a sense of accomplishment and sharing with each other.

“That’s OUR thing” or “That’s OUR series/our dish”, are phrases that bring comfort, right? By sharing habits and tastes (while maintaining your individuality, of course, since relationships are about exchanges and not dependencies), you can make your time together even more special and create a sphere of personality that belongs uniquely to that relationship.

Making plans together

Making plans is essential when thinking about the future of a relationship. No one owns destiny, we all know that things change and we can never be 100% sure of how life will turn out. 

However, planning things for the short, medium, and long term can help the relationship have a sense of purpose, which is essential during times of crisis. If we know where we want to go, difficulties become more tolerable, as we are visualizing all the special things we have. Plans create inspiration and can help, also, in other areas of life.

However, remember that difficulties in a relationship are not supposed to make you sick. If something is no longer making you happy, the best thing to do is prioritize what is good for you. Hard times in relationships are normal as long as they are not a harmful pattern of behavior.

Even if you don’t want to set a long-term plan (and that’s okay!), small aspirations can help you and your partner keep glimpsing good things to come.

Listening, listening, and listening

Just as being transparent is important, there is no point in being honest with your feelings if you don’t know how to listen to your partner. Even if it is something that you didn’t want to hear – that  might point out a bad behavior of yours – it is extremely important to understand how you may have hurt the other person and why it occurred.

Even if the mistake was not intentional, you can fix it. We will not always hear what we like, but we need to listen to everything the other person feels the need to say. It is important to know that active listening is not about arguments and objections to what is being said.

Even if you feel it doesn’t make sense and want to justify yourself, understand that nobody is hurt or feels things in the same way. Your emotional pattern may not be the same as your partner, so listen and try to understand how it was received. Of course, you can also talk about how you feel, but never try to invalidate your partner’s feelings.

Listening is not limited to conflicts and grievances. Tell about how the day went, new excitements, desires, fears, confessions, opinions. In a relationship we share so much that, in the long run, we have a bit of our partner in ourselves. And this is only truly possible when both are willing to listen actively.

There are thousands of other things that can help in a relationship, not to mention that specific cases also demand more personal attitudes. However, in a general overview, these topics can be listed as very significant attitudes, especially regarding communication. After all, what is a relationship, if not a great sharing?

The article above was edited by Lethicia LioiLiked this type of content? Check Her Campus Casper Libero home page for more!

Lethicia Lioi

Casper Libero '22

Journalism student.
Larissa Mariano

Casper Libero '23

Encantada pelas palavras e vivendo entre inconstâncias. Apaixonada por literatura, música, cinema e tudo aquilo em que expressamos nossos sonhos.
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