30 Days, 30 Ways to a better relationship1) Say Thank You
Every couple knows the importance of saying "I love you." But, believe it or not, those may not be the magic words your significant other is really longing to hear. "The number one way to improve your relationship is to make your partner feel consistently appreciated," says Meyers. "And the surest way to do this is to say 'thank you' for the little things." Did he take out the trash? Make dinner? Put his socks in the laundry basket? Let him know it wasn't lost on you. Plus, there may be an added bonus in showing your appreciation: Forming new good habits.
2) Get Your Adrenaline Pumping Adrenaline is like an aphrodisiac in relationships, especially when you've been together for years. It's what infuses some oomph into otherwise ordinary days. "Sometimes things can start to feel stale and predictable in a long-term relationship," says Seth Meyers, PsyD, author of Dr. Seth's Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve. "So make sure that you are stimulating your body, which, in turn, stimulates your mind and your emotions." Give bungee jumping a go if you dare. Too extreme? How about horseback riding or go-karting? Or choose any other activity that you find exciting and gets your adrenaline going.
3) Send a Sexy Text
Send a sexy text to let your man know he's on your mind when you're apart. That's right, it's not just for politicians and celebrity athletes; it's for couples in healthy relationships looking to have a little fun, too. "With technology-based infidelity in the news constantly," explains sex expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D., contributor to GoodinBed.com, "it's important to remember that sexting is a great way for committed couples to flirt with each other and make each other smile." Anticipation is like mental foreplay that could lead to the physical kind, too.
4) Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk
Does your marriage sometimes feel more like a business arrangement than a love affair? It's not that surprising when you think about it: You're most likely partners in a bank account, car or mortgage, or all of the above. But none of that serious stuff came into play when you first fell in love, so try to re-visit that tender pillow-talk stage whenever possible. "It's essential to have a real conversation at least once a week," says Sherry Amatenstein, author of The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship-saving Advice from America's Top 50+ Couples Therapists and iVillage's Dating Doyenne. You've got to expand your communication beyond "the day-to-day, 'Are we out of milk?' and 'Whose turn is it to walk the dog?'"
5) Make Eye Contact During Sex
When you're having sex, are you thinking about something, somewhere, or someone else? There's nothing wrong with fantasy when he's in on it (and occasionally when he isn't). But closing your eyes can sometimes send the wrong message: You're only present physically. Keeping your eyes open and looking directly into his reassures him that it's him, and only him, who's turning you on in that moment. "Eye contact during sex reinforces the love-making aspect of sex," says Kerner. "It also enhances the emotional intensity and sense of intimacy."
What's worse than living in the past? Ignoring it altogether and never taking a moment to reflect on the happy times you've shared along the way. "Reminiscing together strengthens your bond and your sense of history together," says Meyers. After all, the fact that you've been together for as long as you have can say a lot about how much you mean to each other and how well you know each other. Remember that B&B where you sat on that porch swing for hours on end? Remember the incredible gourmet meal you shared on your 30th birthday? Remember the...
7) Do "His" Housework Sometimes
Is there anything better than waking up to find that your guy emptied the dishwasher after you went to bed? He feels the same way when you handle household chores he'd been putting off, especially when he's busier than usual. "Being considerate of your partner is the gift that keeps giving," says Amatenstein. "Not only will he feel he is more than a 'task-mule,' he'll be more inclined to do chores for you when your schedule is crazed." And surprisingly it's the little to-dos, like picking up milk when you see you're running low or replacing a light bulb that can be most noticeable.
8) Take a New Risk in the Bedroom
In a recent GoodinBed.com survey on bedroom boredom, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they wish their partner would suggest something new to mix up their between-the-sheets routine. "Couples generally lock into a few things that they know work and stop experimenting," explains Kerner. "But the brain is the biggest sex organ and anytime you try something new, you're stimulating the brain's natural desire for novelty." Some ideas? Try out role-playing, a game of dress-up or give it a go with a sex toy.
9 ) Give Compliments...Daily
He knows you think he's smart, funny and sexy. Why else would you be with him for so long, right? Not necessarily. Even if he's the most confident man on the planet, he'd probably still love to hear about how you feel about him more often -- and compliments are a great place to start. "Giving compliments provides a necessary reminder that you find your partner physically and emotionally attractive," says Meyers. "And practicing this will make your partner feel warmer toward you."
So the next time he tells you about a success at work, let him know you're not surprised he's so well-respected. The next time he wows you with his knowledge of American history, tell him you're impressed with his social studies smarts. And the next time his butt looks extra-cute in those jeans? Let him know!
10) Work Out Together
Hitting the gym as a couple isn't only about finding extra time to be together: Being fitness buddies is also a great way to show each other support and encouragement while getting in better physical shape and feeling healthier all around. It even implies that you hope to live a long life in each other's company. "Working out together gives you a common goal," says Amatenstein. "The couple that sweats together stays together!" Plus, the gym is hot and increases your heart rate, not to mention your libido.
Go to iVillage.com for 20 more tips on how to improve your relationship.
More from iVillage.com:
The Health Benefits of SexYour 6-Step Guide to Being More Satisfied in Bed
Fact or Fiction? 12 Sex Questions Answered
Top 10 Signs He's Into You
Your 6-Step Guide to Being More Satisfied in Bed
For more tips, go to iVillage for 20 more ways.
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