Devan Armstrong MS, LMFTMy husband, Scott, and I have been married for 14 years and have been together a grand total of  17 years. We met in college and have navigated many changes, losses, and typical life stage decisions together. We have always respected each other as individuals, and we have worked hard to figure out how to make our opposite personalities live together and cooperate through this crazy thing called marriage.

Check out some of our more unique tips and tricks below. Maybe they can spark some ideas of what to try with your partner to make your relationship a little smoother.

1) Keep a question book or a list of conversation questions in the car.

If...When you are driving around with your partner to do errands, such as grocery shopping, you have built in entertainment, and you are maximizing the time you have to connect. Plus, they’re easy to take into a restaurant for interesting conversations over dinner!

2) Create a list of presents specific to you.

Include the site or store from which the gift can be purchased. Give this list to your significant other. When a birthday or anniversary occurs they do not have to search hard to find something you would enjoy getting from them. This allows the gift giver to feel successful and the recipient to feel special.

3) Schedule a weekly hour with one another.

Whether it is a morning cup of coffee or a lunch date, treat it as a commitment that cannot be broken. You can use the hour as a business meeting to discuss necessary topics or just as a connection time to touch base with your partner. This allows for a consistent check-in point, and it makes room for connecting and prioritizing your relationship, no matter how busy life becomes.

4) Each day say, out loud and face-to-face, something you appreciate about your partner.

It can be something they did for you or a nice thought you had about them. This allows the listener to feel noticed and builds a habit of thankfulness, which is a healthy and foundational element for any relationship.

5) Use technology to your advantage.

You can set reminders on your smart phone to do relationship behaviors such as “compliment your partner,” “ask questions,” or “get a small gift.” You can coordinate schedules with calendar apps.use technology to help with marriage You can set up automatic texts or emails for every morning to say, “I love you.” Technology is amazing. Use it.

6) Gather resources for date ideas and keep them handy.

There are all kinds of internet sources doing the creative part for you: Dating Divas, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Pinterest, etc. Keep a “bucket list” of ideas on your phone. You can even categorize them if you would like to make them easier for review when you are in a hurry. Best categories to use are: staying in or going out, high/medium/low energy, and cost.