Talk - do you talk?
Share the simple things each day. What have you done today? What was important to you?
We are a bit like an onion when we communicate. When we talk of facts, we are operating in the outer layers. We'll even talk to perfect strangers about these sometimes. "When is the next bus coming?" "Isn't the weather awful?"
Going a little deeper, we find our opinions and expectations. These reveal a bit more about ourselves, but they often aren't unique. Many of us support the same football team or political party.
Below these layers, nearer to the heart of who we are, we find our feelings, the unique emotions that reveal what is really going on inside us.
Getting back to that conversation about your day and what happened. How did you feel about it. Were you happy, sad, anxious? Let your partner get a glimpse of who you really are!
"The boss was in a really bad mood today. He snapped my head off. I felt miserable most of the day. I'm worried he doesn't like me." OR "The boss was really nice to me today. He said I was working well and he'd see what he could do about a pay rise. I feel really chuffed. It's good when something's going well."
Can you make ten minutes to talk to each other each day about things that really matter to you.
Listen - do you know how to really listen?
It means switching off all the things that are buzzing around in your head and giving your partner all your attention. Switch off the TV, put down the newspaper. Look at them. See what their body is saying, it's often clearer than their words. But don't assume you know what's coming and switch off. Don't use the time they're talking to prepare your answer or you won't hear ALL they say. Good listening takes practice. Practice every day!
What do you expect?
We come into married life with lots of expectations of how it will be and how our partners will be. It often helps to sit down and share those expectations. The point of this should not be to change each other, but to understand each other.
When you book a holiday what do you expect to do on it? When Christmas is approaching, what do you expect it to be like, where do you want to spend it?
Say something nice
It's good when someone says "Well done" or "You look good today" or even simply "Thank you" or "I love you". Look for opportunities to tell your partner what you appreciate about them.