Five tips to reinvigorate your relationship for 2016

Whether you have been together for three years or three decades, sometimes it can feel like you are stuck in a relationship rut and the path ahead seems humdrum and unexciting.
It can be easy to blame work or the kids for draining the emotional connection between you, but it can be surprisingly easy to reconnect if you pay attention to these five simple steps:
1. Spend time together, just the two of you, not talking about work or children.  If this thought makes you scratch your head and wonder ‘what else is there?’ then taking time out together should be an absolute priority.  You don’t have to go out for an expensive meal, just a walk in the park and a coffee is enough.  Try to spend at least two hours a week outside the house together (a trip to the supermarket or DIY store doesn’t count …)
2. Have a least one ‘no technology’ evening every week.  In the last decade or so, relationships have had to cope with a flood of technological distractions which make us turn our attention away from real life encounters and towards a screen instead.  While smartphones and tablets can be useful tools to make our lives easier, they also have the capacity to wreak havoc with our couple relationship.  Humans are designed to feel happy when they make good connections with other humans in face to face settings.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend watching other people live their lives on Facebook or Youtube and  start engaging fully with your partner and your own life.
3. Remember that actions change feelings.  The brain works in a feedback loop.  If you behave in a certain way, it will then supply the matching feeling.  So start to act more kindly towards your partner. Offer to make them a cup of tea, even if you are a bit grumpy with them.  Which leads to the next tip …
4. If you are angry or upset, explain that you need to talk about what is bothering you.  But don’t using naming, blaming, shaming or complaining language.  Avoid using the word ‘you’.  It’s easier for someone to take on board a message if they don’t feel attacked.  For example: ‘I’m uncomfortable when I hear shouting’, is an easier message for someone to accept than ‘You are always shouting’.
5. Each write a list of five fun things that you could do together. Choose one option a week or a fortnight and work your way through the list.