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Six ways to strengthen your relationship

Although I am writing this two days after Valentine’s Day, romantic vibes are still in the air. Heart decorations are everywhere, ranging from beautiful to kitschy, and I expect the Valentine’s industry is booming as always. It is refreshing to see young (and old!) couples in love and although I don’t generally agree with the commercialism around Valentine’s Day and over-priced flowers and set menus, it still warms my heart when I receive a Valentine’s Card from my “secret admirer”. No matter what life has thrown at us, he has been going strong for over 25 years!

Good relationships are so important. We all want to get on well with the people in our lives, our friends, colleagues, parents, siblings, and not to forget our own children, but sometimes relationships are hard work. Especially the relationship with your partner.

So with the spirit of the New Year and while love is still in the air, let me write down some tips on how to strengthen your relationship:

1. Communicate

This is the single most important aspect of any relationship. Talk to each other. A lack of communication will invariably lead to misunderstandings that may cause serious problems. “We have grown apart” is a very common statement we hear from couples who are splitting up – I think they have grown apart because they stopped talking to each other.

2. Spend quality time together

In the early years of a relationship this is easily done, because all you want to do is be with your other half! But as jobs and children start to take up your life, quality time with your partner often falls wayside. Spending time with each other does not need to be an extravagant exercise. You could just go and have a coffee together on a Sunday morning, see a show or go to the movies. But make it a point to nurture your relationship on a regular basis. You could also meet up with another couple. Then there is more to talk about and you could share or pick up ideas on various interests or holidays. Getting some new input from the outside world can be very inspiring!

3. Keep the flame alive

Things do tend to fall into a routine when you have been together with your partner for several years. This is not necessarily a bad thing, routines provide a feeling of security, but routines can also become rather boring after a while! Lack of excitement can be dangerous and may lead you to think you are “stuck in a rut” or – even worse – believe that the grass is greener on the other side.

It is important to accept the fact that over time there may be less sparks in your relationship, but this does not mean that there is less love! Dig out your old favourite love song from all those years ago, or the music that was played at your wedding. Re-live those moments to re-kindle your passion, or try out new things together. This does not need to be a salsa class if your partner does not enjoy dancing, pilates might do the trick equally well.

4. Patience

In the beginning we are always on guard to show ourselves from our best side. But sooner or later the first argument comes up. I still remember my mother-in-law’s advice: “don’t go to bed on an argument” and that is definitely an important lesson of life. Try not to say things in the heat of an argument. Calm down and think it over before explaining your feelings to your partner. Then you can try to resolve the issue together.

Sometimes, arguments are caused by the high expectations people have of what and how things should be done. It is worth remembering that different people express love differently and your partner’s way might not be the same as yours. Managing your own expectations and appreciating your partner’s qualities are important. And never take your partner for granted.

5. Be positive

Mistakes happen. And usually the person feels pretty bad about it. Instead of reminding your partner of the failure, think of the countless good things he or she has done. Don’t dwell on the negative, steer your thoughts towards a positive effect and surely you can rescue the situation together. Focussing on the negative can make your partner feel unappreciated and unloved. Be positive with your words and show respect to each other. That way you show your partner how important and special he or she is to you.

6. Enlist the help of the universe

Yes! You read this right. I have to add the Feng Shui element somewhere! Getting help from the universe is not something for “yogis” only – everyone can do it! And it is definitely worth it.

Stand in the middle of your living room and locate the SW sector. Ideally, you want to use a reliable compass for this, but a smartphone will do most of the time. Then place one or more love enhancers in that spot, the SW of your living room. This can be a picture, two crystal hearts, your wedding photo, the double happiness symbol, the dragon and the phoenix together (the ideal couple in Chinese mythology), two love birds, or anything that represents love to you. It could also be something that reminds you of a very special moment you shared with your partner. This can be very personal but also very creative!

Do the same in the SW of your bedroom. Whatever objects you choose, place them with intention. The intention of keeping your loving bond with your partner strong. Fuel the flame. Happily ever after.

This article was first published on the Feng Shui Focus website on 16 February 2016.

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