Dating night owl
"Stringing together these little things is an ongoing way to make change in your relationship," says Gail Saltz, MD, Health's contributing psychology editor.
Think about the last time your partner did something to help you out or made you feel special, and then say "thank you" for it.
"You get so comfortable with your partner it's easy to expect them to meet your needs," Dr. Too often couples forget to express a simple thanks, whether one of you helps out with the chores or surprises the other with a gift.
Orbuch has studied 373 couples for more than 28 years through the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center, and her research shows that frequent small acts of kindness are a predictor of happiness in a relationship. By doing these small tasks on a regular basis, you'll help your partner feel noticed. In Motivation and Emotion study, couples that remembered laughing together—like the time a grocery store clerk did something funny in the checkout line—reported greater relationship satisfaction than those who remembered experiences that were positive, but not necessarily when they'd laughed.
"Laughter reminiscence packs an additional punch because people relive the moment by laughing again," says study author Doris Bazzini, Ph D, a psychologist at Appalachian State University in Boone, N. RELATED: 29 Days to a Healthier Relationship It's no secret that getting buff helps you out in the bedroom by boosting your endurance, strength, and flexibility—but a sweat session also has more immediate effects.
"Endorphins from exercise give you an adrenaline rush that boosts arousal," Orbuch says.
Activities that get your heart rate up, like hiking, running, or biking, are guaranteed to have a positive effect on desire.
Everyone changes as relationships progress, Orbuch says, so it's likely your partner has different interests and passions from the early years of your relationship.
So ask your partner about anything you wouldn't normally—movies, music, even what you'd do with lottery winnings.
If you're glued to Facebook during dinner, then it's time to unplug.
A study published in Computers in Human Behavior looked at data from 1,160 married people and found a negative correlation between heavy social media use and relationship happiness. "Bedtime might be the only opportunity you're alone together all day," says Barton Goldsmith, Ph D, author of The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.
Turn on some catchy music while you're cooking and start dancing together, Orbuch suggests.