By Marshaun Olaniyan |Life & Relationship Strategist  www.marshaunolaniyan.com

I grew up surrounded by relationships. It seemed everyone I knew who was considered an elder was in a relationship. I couldn’t distinguish, through my childlike eyes, if everyone of the couples were married nor did it ever cross my mind that they were not married. When you grow up around and continue seeing couple after couple everywhere you turn, your vision and even the possibility that there could be another side to relationships and even marriage does not exist. 

This happened to me. My vision and perception regarding relationships was skewed due to being around couples who seemed to always be happy and in love. Because of this, I did not realize how much I did not know about love, building a relationship and even being in a healthy relationship. 

As I matured and left home to begin my own life’s journey, I soon found out that I was never taught what a solid relationship looked like. Yes, I had a general idea but having the details broken down was something I never experienced  so when I started dating and tried to build my first marriage, it was no wonder things came crashing down. You and I can only work with the tools we are given until we are ready to mature and go to the next level in life and in love. 

Once I decided to take my love life into my own hands and not keep repeating the cycles from my past, I began to search for ways that I could create a solid relationship. A relationship where it has a fighting chance to last, be healthy and fun. One where I enjoy my partner and love him on purpose. 

Here are the 5 tips to create a solid relationship:

  1. Check in with your partner often. 

Once you get into your relationship do not fall into that trap of thinking your partner will know what he or she is doing right or areas he or she needs to work on. Do not allow resentment to build up. Do be vocal about what he or she is doing right. Do be vocal about what he or she needs to work on and be open to receiving the same feedback for yourself. This type of consideration for one another will help to deepen the understanding of your partner and will bring about more happiness for the choice you made in your partner. Be willing to put the areas that need some work into practice. This will show your partner that you did hear him or her and you want to be a better partner to him or her. 

  • Give him/her your undivided attention.

When your partner is trying to have a conversation with you, make sure you get rid of the distractions, no matter how small. Whenever my husband is trying to speak to me, I make it a point (most times) to put down my phone or to step away from the computer or come into the room he is in so I can give him my undivided attention. Now, I’m not perfect at this but I am getting better and this simple step does make a difference. My husband also calls me on it whenever I violate this unwritten agreement. Sometimes I’m not aware that I’m not giving him my undivided attention. This is a work in progress in my marriage. I also call him on it when he is failing at giving me his undivided attention. It is a mutual way of being understood and respectful of one another. This also keeps our bond strong. 

  • Connect more physically with hugs, kisses, holding hands and cuddling.

Keep your connection with one another through creating moments to embrace one another. These moments do not have to be done on a large scale or even made into a spectacle. They need to be genuine and practiced often. Did you know that infants need to be held and cuddled in order to stay alive? Well, now you know this. You and I are no longer infants but we need to feel the touch of our partner just as much. This makes the heart grow fonder towards one another. Touch brings about a thoughtful smile. Touch also decreases stress and lowers blood pressure. Who knew that touch was this powerful? Being touched by your partner and your partner touching you is an undoubted way for him or her to feel close to you and loved by you. 

  • Don’t forget about the surprises to make him/her feel special.

Who doesn’t like surprises? Most people do. It makes your partner have a warm fuzzy feeling that you thought about him or her. Surprises can reassure your partner that you do know him or her and what they like. Gifts can also be your partner’s way of feeling loved. 

Do not get caught up in the amount of money you put into a gift because not all gifts need to be bought. You could give the gift of handmade art, a handwritten letter or a flower you picked on the way home. The art of gift giving has more to do with the thought that was placed upon what the gift is. Maybe your partner’s birthday is just around the corner and you know he or she loves picnics or movies or wine. You could present a gift around one of these areas. You could create a picnic in your living room as well as at your favorite spot in town. An area where he or she goes to think. Instead of going to the theater for a movie you could rent a projector and have a private movie in your backyard on the back of your house with a dinner set up for you two to enjoy. Instead of getting him or her a bottle of wine, you could take them wine tasting at the new winery you discovered. 

  • Talk about your dreams, goals, aspirations, fears and current projects.

Get your partner involved with your dreams, goals and aspirations. He or she could have the best idea to help you get to the next level. Be open to receiving their idea as well. Do not think you have to try to accomplish everything you’ve been dreaming about all alone. You two are there to build the relationship together. This includes your careers and what you are afraid of. Do not look at this as being a negative. The best way to get over your fears is to face them. Discuss these things with your partner so he or she can support you on this journey of growth and self discovery. If you are scared of public speaking, you should find a way to speak in public even if it is a very small gathering of your peers or friends. Practice your speech in front of your partner. Listen to his or her feedback so you can get better. If you are afraid of flying you should totally go book your next trip to ensure you get on the plane. Ask your partner to travel with you if need be. If you are scared of having that difficult conversation then you must muster up the courage to have that conversation. This will help you go to the next level, create a deeper understanding of yourself (and your partner) and you will be able to push the limits in a healthy way. 

If you need further assistance to ensure you are creating a solid foundation in your relationship, check out my coloring book for couples, 365 Days of Love For Us: An A-Z Coloring and Activity Book for Couples. You and your partner can look at date night different with this coloring book. Each date you two will color one of the pages with a couple and a word that shows how much you love him or her. You two will discuss what this word means to you and write down ways you both will show each other what this word means. This gives you two a chance to create the foundational structure within your relationship. After you two complete this coloring book you will feel connected, understood, closer to one another and your communication will have increased ten fold. Check out 365 Days of Love For Us here:  https://amzn.to/3d0d032

If you want to go even deeper into understanding yourself or your partner send me an email at marshaun@marshaunolaniyan.com. 

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