4 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship in July
Endless lunches, sundresses and shades, starlit parties, lazy Sundays—take your cue from the blazing heat and warm up a romance that’s gone cold or dive into a new one. Here’s how.
Start a Relationship Ritual
Whether it’s sharing a cold beer at sunset, stargazing on your fire escape or meeting for lunch in the park once a workweek, come up together with that thing you do. “Rituals can anchor a couple and convey trust and emotional reliability,” writes sociologist Deborah S. Cohan. “And, rituals give couples a chance to invent something new together that singularly defines their relationship...” Too time-strapped? Dig deep and ask yourself if not now, when? Writes Cohan: “No one is really that busy. It’s about what we say yes to, what we say no to, what we make time for, and who we care about.”
Fighting? Take a Walk
If you’re in a bickering phase (and when it’s 92 degrees out at 6 a.m., isn’t everyone?) or coming up against a conflict you just can’t seem to resolve (Should you cut back on work to spend more time with the kids? Should he?), take a walk. Together, that is. In an article for the American Psychological Association, researcher Christine E. Webb explains how walking together often leads to reconciliation: “Walking can allow partners to reap the cognitive, affective and behavioral advantages of synchronous movement, such as increased positive rapport, empathy and pro-sociality. Walking partners naturally adopt cooperative (as opposed to competitive) postural stances, experience shared attention, and can benefit from discussions in novel environments.” It doesn’t even have to be a long, romantic one on the beach. Strolling to the corner bodega for iced tea counts, too.
Praise Your Partner Publicly
“Before you panic about the word ‘public’…this praise looks different for every couple,” writes Josie Santie on The Everygirl. “It could be posting a Facebook status or Instagram about your partner’s career successes (no shame in a #humblebrag), or telling your mom how delicious your partner’s spaghetti carbonara is when all of you are together. This will not only make your partner feel like you are genuinely proud of them and their accomplishments, but it will also make you remember how lucky you are to be with them.” Private praise is lovely. Praise on Insta or in front of in-laws? We’re talking vow renewal.
Break a Sweat Together
It’s hot as hell. And we’re not talking about the weather. If you were ever going to initiate a sunset hike, morning bike ride, public pool dip or beach yoga class together…it’s not going to be in February. “Exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal—sweaty hands, a racing pulse, shortness of breath,” writes social psychologist Theresa DiDonato. “These symptoms mirror, in many ways, the thrill of romantic attraction. Interestingly, people can easily mistake the two and misattribute physical arousal for romantic attraction. Use this phenomenon to your advantage by inviting your romantic interest to work out with you. The results? A likely boost to your attractiveness in his or her eyes.”