by Megan Stubbs
If you’ve been craving to be closer to your partner, there are easy steps you can take today to improve your cohesion. Before you think that this is going to involve a long, elaborate plan, think again; it is the little things that count. It’s the easy, often overlooked actions that may have the biggest impact on our partner relations.
Yes, kick it old school. Are you still kissing as much as when you first met? It’s OK if the answer is no. Being high on NRE (new relationship energy) is a common occurrence when you first meet someone. New lips, new body, oh my! The high you feel when first kissing someone is due in part to the release of dopamine. This is what makes you crave your partner and want to repeat the action more and more. Love is like a drug. Over time, this craving lessens but is replaced by oxytocin taking center stage. When you kiss your partner, oxytocin is released and is responsible for the warm, loving feeling you get from your partner. Oxytocin is integral in the feeling of attachment, which makes sense because it is released during breastfeeding as well. Science aside, just kiss your partner because it feels good! Kissing has been shown to lower stress, and it is one of the fastest ways to feel closer to your partner.
Write a Note
“Do you want to go out with me? Circle yes or no.”
I suppose the younger generation will not understand my reference to passing notes during class (thanks, technology), but hopefully they’ll still get the idea. Writing a note (not a text, Facebook message, or an email—on real paper) is a heartfelt way to show your partner how much you care. A message written in your script is sure to pull at the heartstrings of your partner. If that isn’t enough for you, how do increased happiness, satisfaction, and reduced stress sound? A study done at Kent State University by Professor Steve Toepfer called Letters of Gratitude: Further Evidence for Author Benefits had some intriguing findings:
What we come away from this study is that if you are looking to increase your well-being through intentional activities, take 15 minutes three times over three weeks and write letters of gratitude to someone,” Toepfer said. “You’ll feel better on those three variables. There is a cumulative effect, too. If you write over time, you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.”
Surprise your partner with a note in their lunch, stuck on the bathroom mirror, or mailed to them. It’s a small, sweet gesture that can bring you together.
Say it From the Kitchen
Who doesn’t love food? Use this as a catalyst to connect with your partner on a variety of levels. Cooking together is a great way to utilize teamwork and achieve a goal you’re working toward together. No cell phones allowed. Put it in airplane mode if you need it to read a recipe or use for music, but don’t let the interruption of calls and texts pinging lure you from your date night. Spending time together in the kitchen is the perfect way to become present with your partner. With no pressures from the outside world, you can unwind and relax. Do you have a favorite indulgent dish, or one from a vacation the two of you took? Try to recreate that. Have you always wanted to explore a foreign cuisine? Find a recipe. Do you have no time to go shopping for groceries, but still want to make this happen? Sign up for a meal delivery program that will drop off a curated box of ingredients for you to make a dish. It is always possible to make a meal. A bonus is that eating at home is much healthier than going out. Get cooking!
It doesn’t take a grand gesture show that you love your partner. Simply making your partner feel recognized, safe and nurtured can pay dividends in your relationship. All of these tips are well within your reach. I know many people say not to sweat the small stuff, but let’s change the narrative to don’t forget the small stuff. Happy loving!
Dr. Megan Stubbs is a Sexologist, the job you never saw on career day. For insightful tips or a good laugh, find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SexologistMegan.com