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How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting

How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting

Love and marriage take work. If you neglect your relationship, the connection you have with your partner will wither, and perhaps even get lost.

Needless to say, if you care about your relationship and want it to succeed, you need to work on it. You need to communicate well. You need to work on a solution to any problems that may arise. You need to face any threat to your relationship together with trust and compassion. And you need to try new things to keep it fresh and exciting.

This article is about how to spice up a relationship. I am going to give you 6 things you can do to keep things fresh and exciting for both you and your partner, and keep the connection you have with your partner strong.

1. Talk More Deeply and Openly

The first thing that I recommend most people is to learn to be more honest and open with your partner. If you and your partner already share a deep connection and you already share everything with each other, you probably don’t need to do this.

But if you are like most couples, who don’t talk about everything and don’t have a deep connection, then you will most likely find this extremely helpful and refreshing.

Here’s what you should do:

Imagine having a life where you can share everything with your partner. Your fears, your past, your weird thoughts, your aspirations, your life goals, your work goals, your fantasies and anything that comes to your mind.

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As you were reading the above sentence and imagining sharing these things with your partner, try to notice where exactly did you feel a resistance. In which part exactly your mind was like,

“I can’t share that with my partner.”

For example, maybe you were like, “I can’t share my fantasies with my partner. They are too weird.”

If you feel a resistance towards being a 100% open with your partner about everything, then that’s a weak link in your relationship with your partner. Moreover, it’s also a source of shame or fear for you. Not only are you afraid of your partner finding out about this, you are ashamed of a part of yourself.

If that’s you, I urge you to try to talk to your partner about this. Broach the subject to gauge where your partner stands and tell them how you feel about it. It may turn into a serious discussion or even a heated argument; but in the end, you will be glad you did it because if your partner truly thinks you are special, they will accept you for who you are.

Ultimately, sharing and being honest with your partner about everything is only going to bring you both closer.

2. Share Your Fantasies

This one is quite obvious and an advice you will find pretty much everywhere. This advice is so common because it works.

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When you share your fantasies, not only is it an act of vulnerability that brings you closer to each other, it also opens up the doors to a lot of adventures and sexual pleasures. Both of which brings you together.

The only thing that may go wrong here is if you share your fantasies with too much expectation. A lot of time, people share their fantasies with their partner with a presumption that their partner will want to fulfill their fantasy. And if they find out their partner is not willing to partake in the fantasy, they get upset and feel bitter about it.

When you are being vulnerable to someone, you should do it without any expectations and returns. Being vulnerable is not an act of trade. When you are being vulnerable, you should do it only with the intention of opening up to your partner.

If your partner is not comfortable with whatever your fantasies are, accept it and respect their boundaries. They might open up later, but that should not be something you should push them to do.

3. Travel Together

What better way to keep things fresh than to travel to a fresh new place, with fresh people, new food, new culture and new friendships?

When you travel with your partner, you will experience a new culture together and you will both get to share your experience with each other.

When you experience something new with someone, you associate that novelty with that person. By traveling, you will start associating novelty and excitement with your partner, and that will bring you both together and make you more attracted to each other.

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If you are traveling, make sure you define exactly what you want to do as a couple. If your goal is to reconnect and keep things fresh, then I highly recommend you go to a place that has a different culture from where you are living right now.

4. Games – All Types of Games

Games are one of the best ways to keep things fresh and entertaining for a couple. The best part is that you can choose any type of games that you find appealing. It could be video games, board games, sports, or something fun like paintball. As long as it’s a game, you can get better at and it’s competitive, you can do it together as a couple and enjoy every moment of it.

The reason why games are great at this is because they are relatively cheaper than most other options. You don’t have to spend a fortune traveling. You can just purchase an interesting board game and start playing it with friends and family.

Moreover, games give you something to talk about and do together. Before you know it, you will both be looking forward to the weekend when you can meet up with your friends for game night.

5. Charity/Volunteer Work

It may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about keeping things fresh. But volunteer work can make a huge difference in the way you see things and the world.

When you both dedicate some time to help the society and your fellow human beings, you will both learn more about each other and appreciate each other more. Not to mention you will have some of the most rewarding experience of your life. It will also give you an idea about what’s important for your partner.

The best way to go about doing volunteer work is to speak about it with your partner. Talk about it and discuss what is important for both of you and how to best make an impact in the world. Even if the impact you make is small, you will be glad you did because it will affect the life of another living being.

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6. Challenge Each Other

Couples who challenge each other to improve are the ones who love to play with each other and are involved in each other’s life. It doesn’t always have to be about something serious. You can help each other reach your life goals by challenging each other and keep each other accountable. Just make sure that you are being supportive and not talking them down.

For example, if your partner’s goal is to lose weight; you can encourage them by placing a bet with them to reach their goal weight by a certain time limit. If they win, you give them something that they really want (like that sexual position that they always wanted to try). If they lose, then they give you something that you really want. This way, you keep things fun and help each other at the same time.

But if you take it too seriously, you may get disappointed if they don’t reach their goal weight. And you may end up saying something that hurt them, causing them to feel insecure in the relationship.

So, it’s important to be careful when you are encouraging your partner to grow. Wrong expectations can lead to arguments and sometimes irreparable damage.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things that you can do to keep things fresh and exciting in a relationship. But it’s always best to start with proper communication and understanding.

Make sure you are not just trying to keep things fresh because there is an underlying issue that’s causing you both to drift apart. If there are issues in your relationship, work on them first before trying new things.

And whatever you decide to do, don’t take it too seriously. Remember, the goal is to keep the relationship fresh and alive, and that should always be your top priority.

More About Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Featured photo credit: Jared Sluyter via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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