4 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship in May

The birds are singing. The flowers are blooming. Let’s fill the air with enough romance to drown out the high levels of pollen. Consider this your spring relationship boot camp.

‘Pair Care’ Is Self-Care for Couples, and Here’s Why It’s So Important

happy couple enjoying coffee
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Fake It ’til You Make...out

We’ve been reading a lot lately about positive psychology—the notion of acting as if until reality catches up to your relationship fantasies. So, for example, act as if your husband of 11 years is the funniest, most charming John Krasinski clone on the planet. (Oh, Krasinski. I don’t mind picking up your socks…) Like your partner’s cooking you eggs one morning was a life-changing act of kindness (because it kinda was?). Like you didn’t just hear your husband complain for the umpteenth time about the way you load dishes. La, la, la. According to Harvard psychologist Holly Parker: “Research on perception and attention shows that we see more of what we look for, so if you’re looking for signs of kindness, that’s more likely to stand out to you.” So pretend your glass is half full, and soon it will be.

one yellow tulip among red tulips
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Wake Up And Smell The Roses—literally

The Tulip Time festival in Holland, Michigan. The Lilac Festival in Rochester, New York. Lavender Farms from Oregon to Pennsylvania. Take a Zyrtec and get out there. Sip some lavender-infused wine and hold hands (science says it synchronizes partners’ brain waves). Best case scenario? Given your reduced stress and mental clarity, you’ll see each other with fresh, adoring eyes.

young couple posing for a selfie
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Make This Memorial Day One To Remember

Did you know that Santa Barbara, California, is considered the American Riviera? That you can go on moonlit hikes in Sedona, Arizona? That on sunny afternoons, the Rainbow Falls waterfall in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains lives up to its name? According to research out of UMass Amherst, studies “showed travel as a means to improve communications within a relationship, reduce the possibility of divorce, strengthen lifelong family bonds and increase a sense of well-being in adults and children.” You’ve got three to four days off coming up, people. Make ’em count.

breakfast in bed with a cat

You Do You

“The relationship you have with yourself is arguably the foundation on which your other relationships are built, and studies are supporting this notion,” writes Parker. “High self-esteem predicts better relationship satisfaction, and…people with high self-esteem appear to respond more constructively and positively during conflict.” So whether it’s diving deep into self-care, finally kick-starting a fitness plan (or adopting even one step of Meghan Markle’s) or reclaiming your value at work, treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Others will follow suit.