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    17 Small Things You Can Do Today To Have A Stronger Relationship

    Grand gestures are way overrated. Sometimes it's the small, simple things that make a huge difference in your relationship.

    1. Tell your partner what you ate for lunch.


    Or shoot them an email about your boss's wacky tie. Or send them a Snapchat pic of any of the other random, meaningless, and mundane things that you noticed throughout the day.

    Keeping your partner up-to-date on the small things you think, see, and experience fosters what some relationship experts call "interrelatedness," a key factor in intimacy. This is especially important if you're in a long-distance relationship, where you don't have many chances to chit-chat about the silly stuff.

    2. Say thank you, even for the small expected things.

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    Gratitude is one of the most important traits in happy relationships. The obvious reason is because it feels good to feel appreciated and acknowledged by someone you love. And the less obvious reason is that in high-gratitude relationships, both of you will be more willing and open to doing the work needed to keep the relationship strong and healthy. Researchers from Florida State University found that expressions of gratitude are correlated with greater "relationship maintenance behavior" — like bringing up concerns in a mature way, rather than letting them fester.

    And here's something else: "The more you train yourself to acknowledge all the positive things your partner does, the more likely you are to see those positive things instead of the negative ones," Robert Taibbi, L.S.C.W., a Charlottesville Virginia-based therapist told BuzzFeed Life. Got that? Saying thank you can make you both feel better about the relationship.

    3. Work out together.

    4. Get a good night's sleep.

    Getty Images/iStockphoto acmanley

    Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley had people take a survey every day for two weeks. The study participants answered questions about how much sleep they got, and whether or not they fought with their significant others. Turns out, people who slept poorly were more likely to report fighting with their partners the next day.

    "[Not getting enough sleep] makes people experience more negative emotions and react more strongly to bad things, which means that people might feel more annoyed or angry at their partner than they would if they weren't tired," Amie Gordon, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California at Berkeley, told BuzzFeed Life in an e-mail. Another issue: "If the couple faces some unpleasant (negative) situation, partners who suffer from sleep loss might react more strongly in the situation (blowing things out of proportion for example)," Gordon says.

    Gordon writes about how she and her colleagues carried out some of these sleep studies in a cool blog post for Psychology Today — worth reading to really understand just how important good sleep is.

    Need help sleeping the full 7 to 9 hours that experts recommend? Check out these 14 Scientific Hacks To Help You Get A Better Night's Sleep.

    5. Snuggle up at night.

    Getty Images/Zoonar RF Zoonar/P.Jilek

    Or just find a way to make some physical contact with your partner while you're sleeping. Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, surveyed 1,000 people at the Edingburgh International Science Festival about their sleeping habits and their relationships. He found that 94% of couples who touch each other while they sleep reported being happy in their relationship, compared to 68% of couples that didn't touch.

    The obvious disclaimer here is that this is a correlation that doesn't prove that touching at night causes happiness — it's just as likely that being in a happy relationship makes you feel like snuggling more. That being said, there's a good deal of research that shows a link between warm, affectionate touching and higher levels of oxytocin (the so-called "bonding" or "cuddle" hormone) in your blood. Which is to say: It certainly can't hurt to warmly touch each other a bit more, at night and otherwise.

    6. Give your boo a foot or back rub that doesn't lead to sex.

    7. Show positive interest in the random things they're interested in.

    8. Go on a double date.

    9. Schedule actual couple time, even if it's just for fifteen minutes before bed.


    Taibbi says lots of couples in therapy report that they never really connect with each other anymore — they're just always so busy with other things. "When I see couples who are struggling, they're spending all their time being parents, the kids finally get to bed, and then someone goes to the TV to zone out and someone else gets on Facebook, they wander to bed at different times and then they're never fully connecting throughout the day," he says. "It's easy to get into autopilot and start living totally parallel lives." If that thought terrifies you (or sounds depressingly familiar), he recommends this simple tip: Be adamant about making regular time for one another, even if it's just fifteen minutes a day.

    "Have a conversation about it, and then make it happen," he says. It could mean that you make a pact to chat about your day — one on one with no electronic devices — for ten minutes before bed each night. It could mean actually scheduling every other Friday night as date night on your calendar, and sticking to it. The details don't matter as much as just making an effort to stay on the same page, and recognizing that sometimes that does take a little bit of work.

    10. Split the housework.

    Getty Images/iStockphoto gemenacom

    According to a Pew Research Survey from 2007, 62% of couples say that sharing the chores is "very important" for a happy relationship. The only two other factors that ranked as more important than sharing chores were faithfulness and having a happy sexual relationship. And sharing chores ranked higher in importance than sharing religious beliefs, sharing political beliefs, and making enough money. It's that important. That held true across genders, ages, and even relationship status.

    Here's a tip for how to make each other very happy when it comes to household tasks: Each of you promises to do one of the chores that the other one loathes. So if you hate doing the laundry, your bae can always handle it. But that's only if you solemnly vow to always be the one to clean the kitty litter box (because she just can't even with that scooper). Then remember to say thank you.

    11. Go to bed angry.

    12. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

    13. Get pumped about your boo's good news and accomplishments.

    14. Do something weird together.

    15. Maybe don't tweet that.

    Or this, either. Data from over 800,000 OkCupid users showed that people who professed that they "tweet frequently" had shorter relationships on average than those who weren't so active on the network. (Related, useless fun fact: People who say they tweet frequently also say they masturbate more. The more you know!)

    16. Plan a night out with your friends, without your partner.

    17. Kiss more. And make it count!

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    Smooching your partner a lot is tied to higher relationship satisfaction, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Researchers from the University of Oxford gave an online survey to over 900 adults and asked questions about kissing frequency, attitudes toward kissing, and relationship satisfaction. Some of the things that were associated with high relationship satisfaction: having a partner who was a "good" kisser, and kissing frequently. Pucker up!