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How to Lighten Up Your Relationship

by C. Giles

Even the strongest relationships go through tough times. The stresses and strains of college, work and family life can take a toll. It is easy to get a little complacent and take one another for granted. Accept that a relationship is a constantly evolving cycle of good and bad times. Injecting some fun is the best way to lighten the mood.

Set aside time for each other on a regular basis and stick to it, whether it is once a fortnight, once a week or more often. Schedule "Together Night," suggests North Carolina State University in "Connecting for Families." Come up with ideas for activities together and choose something you both want to do. Go to the movies or your favorite restaurant. Arrange a fun date doing something you've never tried before. Take an art class or try a new sporting activity. Relax and focus on having a good time. Leave serious matters at home.

Laugh together. Having a sense of humor and being able to let go helps keep a relationship alive, according to the University of California Davis Health System. Share funny stories and remind each other of humorous situations from your shared past. Watch a funny movie or go to see a comedian. Laughter may help relieve stress and depression by increasing endorphins in the brain. One of the best ways to make someone laugh is through tickling, says neuroscientist Robert R. Provine in "Laughter: A Scientific Investigation." Tickle your partner's underarms, waist, feet or neck for an instant mood lifter.

Reminisce about the early days of your relationship. Talk about how you both felt when you first met, where you went on your first date or how wonderful your wedding day was. Listen to your favorite song and chat about why it means so much to you. Look through old photo albums to trigger positive memories.

Surprise your partner with flowers or a home-cooked meal that includes his or her favorite dishes. Create a CD or playlist of tunes from your partner's favorite bands or with songs that mean something to both of you. Don't wait for birthdays or Christmas to exchange thoughtful gifts.

Spice up your love life. Start by fantasizing about getting intimate with your partner, suggests clinical psychologist Frances Cohen Praver in a Psychology Today article. Exchange texts, emails or phone calls. Enjoy the anticipation of being together. Focus on foreplay to create a sense of longing. Be adventurous: Try new sexual positions and make love in different places and at different times of the day. Make love regularly for ongoing intimacy.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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