As spa owners and workers, we often hear about the relationship issues that stress out our clients, sometimes as a listening ear, and other times as a sounding board for taking action to improve the situation. While we may not be professionals in giving relationship advice, we do know that there are a few things couples can do to strengthen their relationship and find themselves closer than ever before.
Humans, by nature, are social creatures. Whether you or your partner work from home, go to work, or are students, a lack of quality human interaction can cause mental stress. A lack of a variety of social interactions may cause some individuals to become withdrawn, even from their partners. To satisfy our need for interaction, increase the quality of time you are spending at home with your partner. If you both spend several hours watching tv together, this quantity of time may not be satisfying your (or their) needs. Turn off the tv and play a board game, have a conversation, cook something together, or start/complete a project around the home. These activities can increase the physical, emotional, and psychological connections between you and your partner. We even recommend seeing other people—friends and family, that is!
We’re going to dive in deep here on this one—you are not perfect, your partner is not perfect, and your relationship is also probably not “picture perfect”; however, you may be perfect for each other. Basing your relationship on the success (or picture of success) of other relationships can do more harm than good. There is no script for a perfect life and there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. There are ups and downs, hardships, and even moments of pain; embracing these, and learning and growing from these moments are how relationships are strengthened. One of our favorite analogies is traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi. This is a derivative of a Buddhist belief that nothing lasts, is truly “finished”, or perfect. From this foundation, Kintsugi grew. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with silver, gold, or platinum. In this, is the understanding that all things have (or will have) imperfections or will break. It is what you do when it happens that matters—do you leave it broken and throw it away, or do you work hard to repair it to make it anew? By repairing a broken item with lavish material, artists can reveal that it is the imperfections that make the whole piece more beautiful and unique.
As we said before, humans are social creatures. This doesn’t just mean that we like to speak to other people or be around others. It means there is a beneficial reward to connecting with others, and we can connect in more ways than just verbally—touch, for example. Something as platonic as a handshake or a hug from a friend to a more intimate touch of a kiss releases oxytocin in your brain. Oxytocin is the “happiness” hormone, it is linked to feelings of bonding, increased empathy, and is believed to reduce stress and anxiety. Dance, hold hands while watching tv on the couch, have your partner brush or style your hair (we can’t promise it will be anything as good as we can do), ask for a massage, or really spice things up with a round or two of arm wrestling (or a thumb war!).
Finding ways to connect, touch, and communicate can go a long way to improving and strengthening your relationship with your partner. A couples’ massage at Brandon Essentials has also been rumored to be beneficial for couples as well.