1. Try something new together.
Be creative and find new and interesting things to do together. Though it takes a little energy, the rewards are worth it. Preferably choose something that neither of you have ever tried. This adds to the relationship, the fun of exploring new things together.
These are the things we do when we first begin to date, the fun things that keep us in a state of anticipation and relaxation. This is something that one can do to keep that sense of excitement and expectation alive.
2. Remember to laugh.
Humor is a cure for almost everything. Even in our darkest moments of despair, we can smile and laugh at some quirky or funny event, or some memory. Be playful, watch comedies, go to comedy clubs, etc. Fill your relationship with laughter.
3. Become a foodie.
When we are new to a relationship, food can become an aspiring component. The old adage, that "the way to a man's heart, is through his stomach," has a grain of truth to it.
We must all eat to survive, and our culture has made eating, cooking, and kitchen comfort a part of our everyday lives. So be creative, ham it up. Take cooking lessons, cook together, and cook for one another. It's all part of the grooming, caring, taking care of, that is so essential to the relationship.
4. Make life an adventure.
Go to new and different physical locations. It does not have to be a grand trip. It can simply be a weekend road trip. When you move your head to a different pillow in a different place, your defenses drop away and you become more open to one another.
5. Always keep each other's confidences.
Never, ever share with friends the intimate experiences and conversations that arise in relationship. Trust is based on experience, and if either partner hears their conversations and experiences casually bantered about in the public domain, trust can be easily broken and hard to re-establish.
6. Be honest.
Integrity is essential to relationships. That means to be honest about everything, including money. In my experience as a parenting and family expert, money is one of the most common reasons for fighting.
7. The Empathic Process
When a relationship is in trouble, it is important to communicate in an empathic way. Empathy helps to put things in perspective. This means to dialogue without defense, to listen to each other in an intimate way, by holding hands or touching, in a neutral environment, without accusation or blame.
Take turns dialoguing and then dialogue together, to try to come to a compromise or solution. The most important part of the empathic process is to listen without defense. This creates a safe space in which to return again and again, and work out problems.
Follow Dr. Gail Gross on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrGailGross