Relationships really are our biggest assignments. Nothing can drive you crazier, expand your heart more, or reshape your entire world like a juicy, delicious love affair. And while it’s easy to slip into complacency (and spending all your time together watching the entirety of 30 Rock on Netflix), if you want your relationship to propel you both past the level of mere mortals, it’s essential that you put in the work.
These five easy habits will bring some next-level soul to your relationship:
1. Say you’re sorry.
One night, when I was feeling the urge to connect with my lover on a deeper level, I sat opposite him on the bed and said, “Let’s apologize to each other.” We ended up going back and forth, offering apologies big and small, as I wrote them down (for posterity, you understand. Hey, what else are two Virgos supposed to do?!). It was an illuminating exercise and a reminder that causing pain—even if it’s unintentional—is never the goal.
2. Tap in and appreciate the things you love.
I’m a huge proponent of tapping (or Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT), a healing technique that allowed me to recover from depression and an eating disorder. Tapping combines the ancient Chinese practice of acupressure with modern psychology to unblock energy and postively alter your brain and body. While you can use it to alleviate your own pain and stress, you can also use it with your lover to emphasize the positive. Using two fingers, gently tap your lover’s eyebrow on the spot where it intersects with the top of the nose (this is one of the body’s key energy channels, or meridians). As you tap this point, say (out loud), “I love your ______.” Then, go back and forth, tapping each other on this spot while you vocalize what you adore. The use of acupressure allows you to bypass the ego and really accept the words, which makes a beautiful experience for both of you.
My boo and me, both Virgos. Regularly apologizing helps keep things honest between us.
3. Keep your energy clean.
If your goal is to grow your relationship and bring ever more positivity to it, it’s imperative that you’re mindful about who you spend your time with. If your friends constantly complain about their romances, or consistently attract low vibration lovers, you will start to pick up their attitude. Banish those Bad Vibe Betties to the bottom of your BFF list, or commit to redirecting the conversation when it starts to turn sour!
4. Have a greater purpose.
There are many different reasons for being in a relationship: some healthy, and others not so much. Hoping that your next boyfriend will alleviate your crushing loneliness, for example, is an exercise in futility (and is the opposite of Radical Self Love). My personal belief is that a relationship should make everyone involved stronger, happier, and more capable. So get together and write a mission statement for your partnership! It will keep you on track during trying times and infuse everything you do together with a sense of purpose and direction.
5. Learn to speak your partner’s love language.
The old concept of love languages is experiencing a resurgence in spiritual circles, and for good reason. The idea—posed by author and pyschologist Gary Chapman in the book The 5 Love Languages—states that we all have a primary “language” through which we prefer to receive love: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, or gifts. Once you know which language your lover speaks, you’ll know how to really show them how much they mean to you. And nothing feels better than really being understood.
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