All relationships need a little pick-me-up sometimes, even the best ones.
To that end, we’ve compiled a list of 101 pieces of relationship advice to strengthen your relationship. With this advice you can improve communication in a relationship and reconnect with your significant other.
These actions will make your partner feel loved, appreciated, and desired, and will make you feel more connected to them.
Whether you’d like to increase intimacy, find a thoughtful way to say “I love you,” or just show your honey some gratitude, we’re sure you’ll find something useful in the list below.
Relationship Advice on How to Increase Intimacy
1. Lie down on the bed.
Spend two minutes looking into each other’s eyes without saying anything. (Blinking is OK.)
2. Next time you’re in bed, pull the covers over your head and have a whispered conversation.
If you whisper first they’ll probably whisper back. It’s incredibly intimate.
3. Listen to each other.
Think you already do that? Try active listening.
Ask your partner to talk about something and after each sentence repeat what you heard. Start with, “I heard…” You don’t have to repeat back the words verbatim, just say what you think they said.
If you misinterpret or leave out anything, your partner will correct you. Take turns doing this. It’s great for intense discussions, arguments, or just a weekly ritual to improve communication.
4. Pray together.
If you’re comfortable talking about it, discuss what you pray about.
5. Do the wonder intimacy exercise.
List sentences starting with “I wonder” on a piece of paper: I wonder if I’ll ever learn to cook. I wonder if I’ll ever cook for you. I wonder if I could love you more than I do.
Take turns reading your wonders to your partner, without judging, commenting, or analyzing. This may feel silly at first, but just try it and see what happens.
6. Do the nostalgic memory exercise.
Pick a shared memory from “the honeymoon period” of your relationship. Discuss the memory and take turns talking about sensory memories (sights, sounds, smells), what you were thinking, and what you were feeling.
7. Set time aside every day for mutual silence.
8. Give each other pet names.
Sure, you can call each other baby, boo, or schmoopy, but coming up with a nickname only you two get is cute and provides a little laugh.
Studies have shown that nicknames are a sign of a strong relationship. Others might not think “Bomboushay Yaya” is endearing but if it means something to you then that’s all that matters.
Relationship Advice on How to Improve Communication
9. Say something positive — anything at all.
Researchers have found that happy couples have a ratio of five positive comments to each negative comment.
10. Think of one quirky thing they do that you love and tell them about it.
11. Ask them what they were like when they were a little kid.
12. Tell them they look sexy in that shirt.
Like pants, shorts, or (insert the appropriate item of clothing).
13. Compliment something that they’ve improved upon.
14. Tell them they make you a better person.
And tell them how.
15. If you’re feeling anxious about something, ask your partner to be your stress absorber.
Ask them to listen as you explain what you’re worrying about. The catch is that they don’t have to say anything — no reassurances or offers of assistance. They just have to pay attention to what you’re saying and offer you a hug or hold your hand.
As you’re talking, imagine your stress dissipating as the words leave your mouth.
16. The next time they do something that makes you angry…
Before you say something about it, stop and ask yourself, “What am I really mad about?” Little things can often be masks for deeper issues. If you decide it’s a larger issue, hold your tongue and bring it up when you’re not mad.
17. Accept their apology.
If you’ve been fighting and they make an attempt to reconcile, don’t rebuff them.
18. If they hold a notable position in their field…
Remind them of how awesome they are at their job and how it intensifies your amazement of them.
Relationship Advice on How to be Vulnerable
19. Apologize for something you never apologized for.
Even though you knew it was your fault.
20. Tell them a sexual fantasy you’ve always felt embarrassed about.
21. If there’s a secret you’ve been wanting to share with them…
Write a list of five reasons you’re afraid to say it, five ways you could phrase it, and five possible reactions they could have. Then pick one phrase and do it.
22. Think about something your partner does that makes you feel bad, but you haven’t told them about.
Decide what you’d like them to do instead and tell them about it like this.
Next time you’re feeling relaxed and loving, say, “I want to tell you something. Sometimes I feel (insert feeling here) when you (whatever it is that makes you feel bad). Could you do (what he could do instead) instead?”
23. Think about a time when something went wrong between the two of you.
A fight, a disappointment, a miscommunication. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently? What could we have done differently? What can we learn from this?
Then talk to your partner about it, starting with what you could have done differently.
Relationship Advice on How to Make Meals More Special
24. Make a special treat.
Even if you’re on a diet, there’s always room for a little snack once a week. Maybe it’s a dish from their childhood (like the s’mores their dad used to make when they went camping) or something that reminds them of your first date (spicy homemade guacamole? No problem!).
A little treat that you’ve either made or just remembered to pick up will show you’re thinking about the two of you.
25. Cook a meal together.
Divide up the tasks so you can both be in the kitchen working at the same time.
26. Make breakfast for them.
It’s more unexpected than lunch or dinner.
27. Next time you’re at the corner store…
Pick up their favorite candy or gum.
28. Pack them a lunch to take to work.
Bonus: put it in a paper bag with a note. Double bonus: include a small piece of chocolate.
29. Think of a piece of food that they like but is difficult to find and order it online.
30. Use a toothpick to write ‘I love you’ on the outside of an unpeeled banana.
It’ll turn dark in a few hours and they’ll be able to see it.
Relationship Advice on How to Make Things Sexier
31. The next time you hug them, reach around and squeeze their butt.
It’s the little things that keep it hot.
32. Browse an online sex toy store together and talk about what items you’d like to try.
If you want, order one.
33. Bathe together periodically.
34. Put one of their fingers in your mouth and lightly suck on it.
It’s chaste and incredibly sexual at the same time.
35. Write erotic fiction for each other.
Pick something you’ve done together and recreate it in words, or pick a steamy fantasy and write down exactly how you want it to happen — even if, in reality, it’s impossible.
36. Dedicate one day exclusively to sex.
Turn off your phones, don’t check your email and stay in bed all day. Rent a hotel room for a day if this will help you get away from life and only think about each other’s bodies.
37. Take turns being dominant in bed.
Tell them you want to experiment. Tonight you call all the shots, tomorrow they do. Try a blindfold, tying their hands with a tie or scarf, or spanking.
38. Masturbate together without touching each other.
Relationship Advice on How to Bring Them Closer to Your Family
39. Next time a member of their family calls and you answer the phone, stay on the line and chat for a minute before handing off the phone.
They’ll be touched that you want to speak to their relatives.
40. Invite their best friend to dinner and stay for a drink.
Then cut out to give the two some time together.
41. Take out their yearbook.
Ask about the people in it and what they meant to them.
42. Borrow a friend’s dog and take it for a walk together.
Dogs bring out people’s good sides.
43. Read a book to your child together, switching off pages.
44. Bring them a glass of wine (or water) when they’re helping your child with their homework.
45. When you hear the baby crying in the middle of the night, be the first one to get up.
46. Write their mom a note, and praise her on how well she raised her child.
Relationship Advice on Helping Out with Day-to-Day Life
47. Do their chores.
Take out the garbage or do the dishes, even if it’s not your turn or your job.
48. Cover them with a blanket.
If you’re up in the middle of the night or have to leave early in the morning and you see your partner has tossed the comforter off, take a minute and tuck them in.
49. Set out their coffee cup next to the coffee pot with milk and sugar in the morning.
So all they have to do is pour and get out the door.
50. Next time you wake up before them…
Turn off the alarm clock and rouse them by kissing their forehead.
51. Repair something of theirs that they haven’t gotten around to fixing.
Like an old watch battery or a broken bracelet clasp.
52. Pick up their dry cleaning.
53. Next time you know they haven’t gotten enough sleep and they’re going to work tired, tell them ‘you look great!’
Whatever you do, don’t say “you look so tired!”
54. When they tell you something about their schedule, put it on your calendar so you can remember to ask about it.
Like a big meeting at work, a doctor’s appointment, or lunch with an old friend.
Relationship Advice on How to Use the Element of Surprise
55. Leave an open bottle of wine and an empty glass in the kitchen for your spouse after a long, hard day.
Hopefully you’ll be able to join for a glass, but even if you’re working late or taking the kids to soccer practice, it’s a sign of how much you appreciate them.
56. Keep gifts for them hidden in the house so you’ll have a surprise for them if they’ve had a bad day.
57. Get them a subscription to a magazine they like.
58. Buy a pack of their favorite brand of underwear.
Next time they need to do laundry but don’t have time, give it to them.
59. Pre-order a book from Amazon from an author you know they love so it’ll arrive right after it’s published.
60. Just once, upgrade to a small luxury item you know they like but don’t usually indulge in.
Like super-soft toilet paper, organic arugula, a fancy bottle of wine.
61. Start planning their next gift right now.
Figure out the date of the next big holiday — a birthday, anniversary or religious celebration — and think about what they might want. Pay attention to things they say they want and write them down.
Thinking about giving will extend the joy we get from being generous.
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62. Scrawl a heart and your initials in the steam on the bathroom mirror.
They’ll see it if they come in right away, or the next time the mirror fogs up.
63. Write love notes and put them places you know your partner will find them.
Like in their coat pocket, jewelry box, watch valet, silverware drawer or on the laptop keyboard.
64. Send flowers to their office.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy bouquet — anything fresh-cut will liven up their desk and remind them of you.
Relationship Advice on How to Benefit From Technology
65. Ask them to send a baby picture and make it your computer wallpaper.
“That shot of you and your Grandpa Rex after you caught that big salmon? Super-hot.”
66. Change the background of their phone to a picture of the two of you.
67. Make a playlist of all the songs that remind you of your relationship and put it on their iPhone.
68. Copy and paste the lyrics from a love song into an email and send it to them.
69. Send them a link to a song on YouTube that makes you think of them.
70. Think about something you’ve both wanted to do together.
Travel to Costa Rica, learn French, build a fence, and find a TV show you can tape or a website that shows you how to do it. Plan a date night around watching it together.
71. Email them an old photo of the two of you on vacation or your wedding day.
72. Set the DVR to record a show they’ve been talking about but haven’t yet seen.
Or look for a show you know they’ll like and tape it for them.
73. Clean their computer keyboard and monitor.
74. In the middle of the day, send a text message that says, ‘Thinking of you.’
75. Start a couples blog.
Relationship Advice on How to Touch Each Other Affectionately
76. Use your body to show them you’re paying attention and listening when they talk to you.
77. Wrap your arms around their middle and squeeze as hard as you can.
If you’re stronger than they are, give them a little warning.
78. Massage a part of their body that you wouldn’t usually pay attention to.
Like their forearm, calf or butt. OK, maybe you do pay attention to that last part, but you probably don’t massage it.
79. Make a touching date.
One night after dinner, go to bed and take off your clothes, but leave on your underwear. Make a list of ways to touch (tickle, scratch, massage with fingertips, massage with your whole hand, kiss with lips, kiss with eyelashes, squeeze). Then take turns.
One person chooses a body part, one person chooses an action, and you switch off touching each other. The key is to avoid having sex or touching the skin beneath the underwear. Is a list too much for you? Skip it and take turns massaging each other.
80. Sneak up behind them for a quick shoulder massage.
81. Stage an impromptu wrestling match.
Relationship Advice on How to Switch Things Up
82. Pretend to be strangers and pick each other up at a bar.
83. Next time you’re out to dinner, offer to treat, as opposed to splitting it or paying from your joint account.
84. Change your alcohol habits for one night.
Do you usually drink a lot together? Try abstaining for one night and see what happens. Don’t drink much? Try splitting a bottle of wine between just the two of you and see where it leads.
85. Clean the house together. Naked.
86. Set up a bank account where each of you puts $50 a month to go toward something that can be mutually enjoyed.
87. Instead of watching TV, read a story out loud to each other.
88. Have a ‘no technology’ day or hour or evening.
89. When they’re tired from a long day of work, offer to watch a movie they love but one that you wouldn’t normally choose to watch.
90. Don’t react when they say something annoying.
91. Reverse your spooning (or other snuggling position) for a night.
92. Next time you’re going somewhere in the neighborhood together, walk instead of driving.
The stroll will give you time to chat.
Relationship Advice on How to Get Creative in Bed
93. Put on music you both like and dance in your living room.
94. Play a card game.
Gin rummy is a great one for two people.
95. Take some grapes (or raisins or chocolate chips) and try to throw them in each other’s mouths.
It’s silly and a little messy but will make you giggle together.
96. Teach them a card game they’ve never played.
97. Talk in an accent together all night.
98. Play movie-oke.
99. Exercise together.
Play tennis, go hiking, go for a jog.
100. Go sledding.
101. Make up a game and play it together with your kids.
Alex Alexander is a frequent contributor to YourTango.