Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married, there are always ways you can improve your love life to increase the happiness of yourself and your (current or potential) significant other.
1. Try something new. Take a yoga class, join a local hiking group, learn a new language at your community college. All of these places will help you to expand and improve yourself, keeping you from moping about being single, improving your self-confidence and happiness (thus making you more likely to attract someone of the opposite sex), and, best of all, giving you plenty of opportunities to meet new people. (Try this really cool idea to get you started.)
2. Try online dating. Seriously. I’m not saying it’s because you’re weird/boring/less than the rest of society. Forget any of the stereotypes you’ve heard. It works. You know how I know? My boyfriend of 4 months and I met there. My goal was to try online dating if I graduated college single (see this article); yours can be if you’re starting 2012 single. I met lots of great guys (and, yes, a few odd ones), had a ton of fun on dates, and then found one guy I wanted to pursue things even further with. Want more proof it works? One in eight couples who married in 2009 met through social media (read this article for more info).
3. Don’t be so picky. The idea that you have to wait for THE one in order to start a relationship? False. Even the general authorities say so, in this article. If you think there’s potential, even though fireworks aren’t going off announcing your handsome prince charming, give it a chance. If things don’t work out, you’ll both come away better people, having learned better what you are looking for, who you want to be, and how a relationship works.
4. But don’t be too unpicky. At the same time, if there’s a girl you’re really just not interested in, don’t force things just because you want or feel like you should be in a relationship. You’ll cause both of you more heartache in the future. Ladies, if there’s a guy you like but you know he’s not good enough for you, don’t settle just because you want to be in a relationship.
In a Relationship
1. Have story time. When you’ve been dating for a while, you get to know each other well, but considering the years you’ve been alive and the months you’ve been dating, the amount you know versus what there is to be known is still miniscule. Try this: “I want to hear a story about [when you were a kid and one of your siblings was mean to you/something about you and sports/something you’ve always wanted and never gotten/anything else in the world].” The requests, and the stories related, can range from humorous anecdotes, stories with no point at all, or deep discussions about who you are and how you view the world.
2. Have regular DTRs. For those of you who haven’t been introduced to this quintessential Mormon colloquialism, a DTR is a conversation about the state of your relationship—a “Define the Relationship.” Most commonly it is used in the context of that all-important conversation that also makes usage of the word “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” acceptable. But even after you’ve passed that hurdle, checking in to see how things are going and that you’re still on the same page is wise—just like a companionship inventory for missionaries. You can discuss anything that the other person needs to be aware of and any concerns before they are allowed to fester into full-blown arguments.
3. Make a to-do list. It's easy for a relationship to stagnate when you fall into a rhythm of doing the same things and eating at the same places all the time. Together or separately, come up with a list of things you want to do—whether it's eat at a certain restaurant, go on a hike to a special place, learn how to make sushi, or anything else. Make it your go-to list whenever you don't have a plan, and pick something that sounds interesting to do. That way you can both grow and progress as individuals and in your relationship as you try new things and explore each other's interests.
4. Go on more double dates. Another way to make sure your relationship doesn't stagnate is to involve other people into your activities. Having more people to interact with will give you more opportunities to get to know each other in a different viewpoint and make sure things stay interesting.
1. Go on a date at least once a month with your spouse. We've all heard the wonderful stories of married couples who go out on a date every single week. But those can often seem more like fantasy than reality as you deal with busy work schedules, needy children with homework and illnesses, callings, and more. Start simple and you won't set yourself up for failure—try one date per month together.
2. Take more opportunities to show you're thinking about your spouse. Call, stop by the office, FaceTime, surprise him or her for lunch—these little things more frequently can mean much more than occasional grandiose gestures.
3. Go to the temple at least once a month together. If you go to the temple regularly with your spouse, you and your spouse will be able to draw closer to God and to each other, making more a more celestial and successful marriage.
4. Escape on quarterly getaways. Four times a year, take the chance to plan a getaway with your spouse. If you're able to, you can go to a vacation spot you've both been yearning to visit, but it doesn't have to be extravagant. Go to a hotel in your own town, or stay in but send the kids off to stay with Grandma or have a sleepover with friends. Take the time to get rid of all the other distractions—work, callings, children, or anything else—and focus solely on each other.
Your turn: Do you have suggestions to improve the love lives of others, whether they are single, in a relationship, or married? What has worked for you, or what goals will you be setting this year? Let us know in the comments below.