23 Ways To Get Closer To Your Partner This Week
In the everyday chaos of things, it can be easy to get thrown into a routine and stay there — especially in your relationship. You might find yourself just going through the motions with your partner, rather than really appreciating the time you spend together. And if this has made you feel distant from your significant other, you may be trying to think of little ways to get closer to your partner. Fortunately, there are little routines you can fit into your week that are easy, and nourishing to your relationship.
Like most things, relationships need care and attention to thrive. Candice Smith, sex expert and founder of Two to Tango Intimacy Coaching, tells Bustle, "I like to think of relationship maintenance like tending a garden. While the occasional grand gesture can be exciting and great, just as occasionally adding plant fertilizer can help a plant bloom, plants thrive most with regular nurturing and watering. Keep your romantic bond strong with regular small interactions that show your partner how much you care — and your relationship will continue to grow, blossom, and thrive." And if you're looking for ways to keep your garden green, here are 23 things you can do to feel closer to your partner this week.
1. Kiss For Six Seconds
Based on Dr. John Gottman’s research on romance and connection, Nicole Richardson, LPC-S, LMFT, recommends greeting your partner each time you see each other with a six-second kiss. “A six-second kiss when partners meet can positively alter the interaction,” Richardson tells Bustle.
Since a six-second kiss is long enough to feel intimate with your partner but it isn’t overly time consuming, it’s a great way to reconnect during the week when you may only have a limited free time. Those six seconds before you leave in the morning will linger with you at work, and the six seconds when you return home will give you something to look forward to, allowing the warm and fuzzy feelings to stay with you throughout your busy day.
2. Experiment With A Temporary Sleep Divorce
In the words of Ariana Grande, "I can't really miss you if I'm with you, and when I miss you it'll change the way I kiss you." In other words, sometimes a little time apart can make you miss your partner and even feel closer to them. If you're used to sleeping together every night, try spending a few nights at a friend's or staying in a different bedroom. A little distance can make both you and your partner miss each other, and result in you feeling a little closer the next time you're back together.
"You may have heard that old aphorism, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder,'" Smith says. "In the case of sleep, this can definitely hold true. Intentionally sleeping apart can help you feel closer to your partner, for the simple fact that it can reduce conflict over different sleep patterns such as snoring or restless night movement."
3. Send A Text When You're Thinking Of Each Other
When you’re thinking of your partner during the day, shoot them a text so they know they’re on your mind. The message can simply be that you’re wishing them luck in an important meeting or presentation, or it can be a more intimate sentiment, Irene Fehr, sex and intimacy coach, tells Bustle.
Sharing these thoughts “can bring people closer in connection,” Fehr says. Most of us spend a good amount of our day glued to our computer or phone, so sending your partner a sweet message can seamlessly fit into the flow of your work day.
4. Send A Good Morning And Goodnight Text
If you and your partner don’t live together, a simple way to feel connected on a daily basis is by sending each other good morning and goodnight texts, Julia Bekker, matchmaker and dating coach with Hunting Maven, tells Bustle. “These small things add to and maintain a connection,” she says. It’s comforting for your partner to know that they’re the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night. Even if you do live together, still make sure to share these sentiments to your partner each day.
5. Do Your Partner A Favor
Couples are often told that complimenting each other can make them feel closer. But you can do your partner one better by doing something for them that they had to get done. Jamie LeClaire, sexuality educator and writer, tells Bustle, "Doing something thoughtful that makes your partner’s life easier, like checking something off your partner’s to-do list, can be a great way to feel more connected to them, especially if you know your partner appreciates 'acts of service.'"
6. Explore A Sex Shop Together
A fun and sexy date to a sex store might be just what you need to feel closer to your partner this week. Even if sex toys aren't your thing, just taking the trip with your partner can spark some sultry feelings, or even just laughter at best. "At a sex store, you can ask the trained personnel questions about what items to use and how to use them," Smith says. "Or, grab your computers for some online exploration for new toys and inspiration."
7. Ask Each Other The 36 Questions That Lead To Love
Popularized by Mandy Len Catron’s 2015 Modern Love column in the New York Times, the 36 questions that lead to love are scientifically proven to make two people fall for each other. These questions are broken down into three different sets, becoming increasingly intimate as they progress. During your date night this week, Mike Goldstein, founder of EZ Dating Coach, recommends asking each other this list of questions.
Even if you think you know everything about your partner, answering these questions will be sure to teach you something new and allow you to find new connections. But, don’t sweat it if you don’t get through the whole list. “When I personally tried it, my partner and I made it to question 28 until we both decided we need to take ‘a break’ together,” Goldstein says. It’s all about feeling out the questions with your partner and deciding how far you should go at the current point in your relationship.
8. Plan A Daily Ritual Of Connection
Pick one simple, low-commitment activity each day to do with your partner. “Maybe each morning on your way to work you call each other and just talk, or maybe you meet every day at the gym and decompress together,” Richardson says. “[Find] something that is in your daily habit that you and your partner can use to talk and connect.”
By choosing a specific activity to complete with your partner each day, you can build them into your schedule and give yourself the comfort of knowing you will connect at least once a day. A couple minutes on the phone, a half hour at the gym, or whatever activity makes sense for your relationship, is an easy way to make an activity you would already do a source of romantic connection.
9. Figure Out A Fight You Keep Having
Let's face it: Every couple has arguments from time to time. And if you're noticing that there's one fight that keeps coming up again and again, you can feel closer to your partner this week by agreeing to a "fight plan" so that you can squash the argument in the most effective and mature way possible. Stef Safran, matchmaker and owner of Stef and the City, tells Bustle, "Everyone is going to get into a fight at some point. Agree to have a plan of action so that when things get heated, you don't make things blow up worse. Agree to talk on the phone or in person, but [don't do it via text]." By tackling the issue before it occurs again, you can show your partner you're dedicated to enjoying the relationship and not letting little arguments get in the way.
10. Share Your Daily Highs And Lows
After a busy day of work, it’s nice to get in the habit of either sitting down with your partner or calling them and going over your high and low of the day, Tyler Turk, founder of Crated With Love, a monthly date night subscription box, tells Bustle. This practice helps with “building empathy, building sympathy, [and] reconnecting on an emotional level,” he says.
We often fall into the trap of scrolling through Instagram or streaming Netflix after work, rather than taking the time to hear about the high and low points of our partner’s day. While these self-care activities are important, it’s also important to set time aside to learn about each other and decompress after a hectic schedule
11. Schedule A Date Night
Let's face it: It can be hard to remember to go on a date when you've been in a relationship for a while. But dates are so important in a relationship so plan a date night this week.
"It might sound cheesy, but even if you spend most of your time together, setting aside time that is explicitly a 'date night' can help bring that flirtatious intimacy into your relationship," LeClaire says. "Furthermore, doing something high-adrenaline, like going to a theme park, carnival, trampoline park, go-kart racing, etc., can be a way to add another element of excitement and stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins."
12. Book A Room In A Hotel Or Airbnb
A switch-up is always a great way to spice things up and get closer to your boo. So even if you each have your own place or live together, getting a bedroom somewhere else can make it more exciting to sleep together.
"It’s important to get out of that relationship routine, to change up your surroundings, and try new things," LeClaire says. "Also, If you have roommates or kids, a nice night of long, intimate, good-good lovin’ just isn’t possible at your home. Renting a hotel room or Airbnb for the night can be a great opportunity to get the privacy you need to invite more intimacy into your relationship."
13. Incorporate More Physical Affection Into Your Day
Have you ever wondered why a simple hug from your partner can instantly boost your mood? According to Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love, “When you touch your partner, oxytocin, also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ flows through your body.” It only takes 20 seconds of physical contact for your body to release the chemical, Chlipala says, which leaves you feeling more relaxed and less stressed, and it increases attachment and trust in your partner.
By making physical contact a part of your daily routine, you can both improve your own mental state and strengthen your connection with your partner.
14. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Each day, you and your partner should each add something that you’re grateful for about each other to a gratitude journal, Bekker recommends. Regardless of if it’s a small task they complete or a major part of who they are, letting your partner know that you’re grateful for them on a daily basis keeps that spark between you alive. “It's a feel good, positive exercise that helps sustain and create closeness,” Bekker says. And if you’re ever having a bad day, reading over your communal gratitude journal will surely put a smile on your face.
15. Give Your Partner A Daily Compliment
When you wake up each morning or before you go to bed each night, make it a point to tell your partner one thing you appreciate about them. “Make the time for it,” Sarah Watson, licensed professional counselor and sex therapist, tells Bustle. “You most likely schedule everything else, schedule this too.”
If you find yourself forgetting to do this, set a daily reminder on your phone to give your partner a compliment. Whether you see your partner in person every day or mainly communicate over text, it’s important to remind them why you fell in love with them in the first place. Who doesn’t love receiving compliments?
16. Talk About What’s Important To You
Set aside a time each week to talk about what’s important to you in maintaining the health of your relationship, Watson says. “Put down tech and sit face-to-face,” she says. It may be that you need to set some boundaries in the relationship or you want to explore a new sexual fantasy. Regardless of what you feel is important to sustaining your relationship, having that weekly conversation with your partner will make you feel more comfortable communicating your needs and build a stronger foundation for a healthy and intimate partnership.
17. Practice The Five-To-One Rule
While certain things about your partner are sure to irk you, it’s important to pick your battles. “The five-to-one rule means [you] make sure to compliment or say encouraging words to your partner many more times than negativity, stonewalling, insults, or extreme sarcasm, and all the dark things that can eventually destroy relationships,” Laney Zuckerman, author and relationship coach, tells Bustle. This doesn’t mean you should never speak up when your partner upsets you; rather you should remember to keep a healthy balance between confrontation and compliments.
Make an effort this week to let positive thoughts and emotions outweigh the occasional negative reactions you may have to your partner’s actions. By intentionally bringing more positivity into your relationship, you can prevent small things from unnecessarily causing fights and creating distance between you and your partner.
18. Ask Each Other Meaningful Questions
One of the easiest ways to show your partner that you care about them is to simply ask them questions about how they are and what they did that day. “You can express interest by … being present (leaning in and making eye contact),” Dr. Stefani Threadgill Briggs, sex therapist and sexologist, tells Bustle. This shows your partner that you are thinking about them and putting their wellbeing at the forefront of your mind. But remember — this isn’t an interview. You want to make sure that you are having a two-sided conversation, Threadgill Briggs says, to make each other feel appreciated and supported.
19. Send Each Other Letters
Even if you live with your partner or see them every day, send them a love letter in the mail, Nina Rubin, Gestalt life coach and psychotherapist, tells Bustle. In the digital age of constant communication, there's still something so special and exciting about getting a physical letter delivered to your home. While a sweet text may get lost in the shuffle of other messages and a meaningful phone call only lives on through memory, a letter forever remains a physical token of your relationship. "If you can’t mail something," Rubin adds, "tuck a love letter in a small compartment or your partner’s car." The idea of your partner unexpectedly finding a love letter in their car will evoke the same emotional response as receiving a surprise note in the mail.
20. Schedule Time To Talk About Your Days
You might go through the daily “How was your day?” back and forth with your partner, but at this point you may be just receiving routine answers. Get closer to your partner this week by sitting down and scheduling time to really go in depth about your days and your feelings. Richard Horowitz, professional educator and cofounder of Growing Great Relationships, tells Bustle, “Sharing day-to-day experiences increases communication and emotional intimacy in a relationship. It also foster cooperation and effective problem solving strategies which minimizes conflicts.”
21. Keep A Running List Of Things To Do Together
Any time you think of a restaurant, activity, or dish to cook with your partner, add it to a running list, Rubin says. This practice pushes you to keep your partner in the back of your mind during the week, thinking of them any time you add a new item to the list. It also ensures you can avoid the dreaded, “What should we do?” conversation the next time you try to figure out a last minute plan for date night. It’s a win-win!
22. Try One New Thing
Whether you try a new restaurant, plan an exciting new activity, or simply start a new TV show, make a commitment with your partner to try one new thing each week. “I like the idea of booking the activity a few weeks or months out so you can anticipate the fun activity together,” Goldstein says. If you’re a planner, you can certainly think of a new activity in advance, giving you and your partner something to look forward to during the week. If you’re more of a spontaneous couple, try one new thing whenever you need a pick-me up during the week.
23. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
Different people prefer different ways of showing and receiving love from their partner. “Some may prefer to spend as much time with their partner as they can, while others feel connected when their partner helps around the house,” Chlipala says. It’s important to identify your partner’s top love language, so you can make them feel supported.
While in the back of their mind, your partner knows that you love and care about them, sometimes they may need you to put in extra effort to show that you understand what they need from you. If you take the time to learn your partner’s desires, you will both end up feeling more emotionally and romantically fulfilled.
It can be hard to carve out time for our partners, but routine shouldn't have to make you feel distant from your significant other. Try one of these things or all of them — the most important thing is that you and your partner continue to put in effort to stay connected and close.
Additional reporting by Eden Lichterman.
In Brief: Hugs Heartfelt in More Ways Than One. Harvard Health Publishing - https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/In_brief_Hugs_heartfelt_in_more_ways_than_one
Candice Smith, sex expert and founder of Two to Tango Intimacy Coaching
Irene Fehr, sex and intimacy coach
Jamie LeClaire, sexuality educator and writer
Stef Safran, matchmaker and owner of Stef and the City
Tyler Turk, founder of Crated With Love
Richard Horowitz, professional educator and cofounder of Growing Great Relationships
Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love
Sarah Watson, licensed professional counselor and sex therapist
Dr. Stefani Threadgill Briggs, sex therapist and sexologist
Nina Rubin, Gestalt life coach and psychotherapist
Laney Zuckerman, author and relationship coach
Mike Goldstein, founder of EZ Dating Coach
Julia Bekker, matchmaker and dating coach with Hunting Maven
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