These unique relationship hacks were featured in Vol. 3, Relationship Sh*t of the Unconventional Monthly, a newsletter that gives you fresh ways to live a little more extraordinarily on a new topic every month.
Good News and Bad News
The bad news is we’ve yet to find any relationship hacks that will mold your significant other into an always-apologetic, eternally-empathetic, gloriously-generous, perfect partner.
The good news is we’ve got some quick and easy relationship hacks to make the best out of what you’ve got.
10 Relationship Hacks that Work For Us
Try these at your own risk. We’re not paying for your divorce lawyers if they don’t work for you.
1. Daily Gratefuls
This is the penicillin of relationship hacks. From one day to the next, it magically cured the festering resentment that led to major blow-ups in Kim and my relationship.
And it’s so easy. All we do is say one thing we’re grateful of the other for every day. Anything! Even stupid things like, “I’m grateful you trimmed your nose hairs,” somehow work.
If you only try one relationship hack, make it this one.
2. Productive (Even Pleasurable) Penalties
Being nagged is the worst, even if you deserve it. So Kim and I have a rule that when either of us does something that deserves punishment, like forgetting our daily grateful, we have to give the other a 10-minute massage. It’s a much more productive, and pleasurable, penalty than nagging.
3. Brutal Honesty
We’ll call out each other’s nasty back pimples, ugly outfits, and stinky breath, share our frustrations with the other as soon as they come up, and argue all the time.
Like the first time you wax your legs, this brutal honesty stung initially. But since we started early and keep doing it before things get too hairy it doesn’t hurt much anymore.
And it’s for the best in the long run. Neither of us wants to be stuck with a useless, pimply-backed, poorly-dressed, dragon breathed pushover after all.
4. Obligatory Monthly Date Nights
Once a month, I have to take Kim out.
These date nights generally consist of some combination of restaurant, bar, or show in a different part of town. I propose some ideas (generally ones she had previously incepted in me) and if Kim doesn’t like them, she “suggests” others that we do instead.
These date nights are her way of forcing me to not be so cheap and are a small token of appreciation for all the cooking Kim does the rest of the month. And they work because they keep us from falling into a boring routine.
5. Conversation Starters
These 36 questions sparked so much conversation between Kim and I that it took us three evenings to get through them all.
To keep the conversation fresh, we bought these TABLETOPICS on Amazon. You could find these conversation starters for free online, but having the physical cards will make us do it and keep our noses out of screens while doing so.
6. Learn New Things Together
It gives us something to talk about, a common goal to work towards, and introduces us to new people.
Massages are next on our list. [Update: Done!]
One of the underrated benefits of fasting is that it has kicked our addiction to food.
That means we never feel unbearably hungry anymore. And never being hungry means never being hangry, which is obviously good for relationships.
8. Hire a Cleaner
Paying someone to clean our place once a week to save on bickering about whose turn it is to clean the toilet is a fantastic investment.
(On a related note, me peeing sitting down has eliminated the toilet seat debate, which is a relationship hack in its own right.)
Working on this website forces us to revisit the great times we’ve had together and incentivizes us to do cool new things.
The “blog life” isn’t for everyone, but maybe you can incorporate the good parts, like the journaling and planning, into your regular life to help your relationship.
10. The W.A.R.T. Technique
The W.A.R.T. Technique is the newest relationship hack in our arsenal. It’s a way get your partner to do what you want without nagging them. I came up with it after Kim nagged me one too many times for doing stupid or lazy little things that bug her.
W.A.R.T. is simple: wait, agree, remind, and thank. And it works. Read How to Stop Nagging (But Still Get Your Way) With The W.A.R.T. Technique.
11. (BONUS) Give Chris Foot Massages Every Time You Watch T.V.
You hear that, Kim?
9 Unique Relationship Hacks From Others
1. Close Your Eyes and Role Play
The Speak to Me in French episode from the Where Should We Begin? podcast has two relationship hacks in one:
- Close your eyes to talk with your partner. You’ll feel what they’re saying differently.
- Take on a different personality. For example, in the episode, a religious American becomes bad-boy Frenchman, Jean-Claude. Doing so, you can approach your relationship from a completely different perspective.
Nag-a-thons “Relationship Reviews”
From our friend Alice of Pivot Six:
Whenever your partner gets on your nerves, rather than nag them about it then and there which can bring down their mood, write it down. And have them do the same.
Then, at a scheduled weekly time, go over these annoyances together (if you still find them worthy of bringing up).
3. Write an Angry Letter But Don’t Send It
Closely related to the previous relationship hack. As per this New York Times op-ed, it worked for Abraham Lincoln, and it’ll work for you, too.
4. Conspire With the Beauty Salon
If your partner always goes to the same beauty salon, pay them to call you and give you a heads up when your partner goes in so you can compliment them on it.
5. Take Turns Initiating Sex
From Good Housekeeping:
For fellow basketball players, it’s like the possession arrow of sex. Instead of jump balls, more jumping each others’ balls.
6. Scare the Crap Out of Each Other
From Women’s Health:
Doing something that scares both of you—bungee-jumping, zip-lining, traveling to “scary” countries, fasting (as mentioned above),
robbing a bank—create excitement and bonding experiences.
7. Talk in Each Other’s “Love Languages”
From The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman:
Figure out which of the 5 “love languages” your partner wants from you and use it. Simple, yet effective. That’s why the book’s the top-selling relationship book of all time.
Those who want to understand the idea but not have to put up with reading about “filling your emotional love bucket” can read our 5 Love Languages Summary: A “Manly” No-Fluff Explanation.
8. Celebrate Daily Victories
From a New York Times list of love hacks:
Partners who enthusiastically share something good that happened to each other during the day—e.g. “Got a phone call from my best friend in Venezuela,” or “I did my first chin-up today”—feel more pleasure from their victories and feel closer together.
9. Come up with a Mission
From Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand podcast episode #178:
Come up with a more inspiring mission for your relationship, “Try to get along ’til death do us part.”
The mission should have a challenge, something bad that’ll happen if you fail, and something good that’ll happen if you succeed.
For example, Miller and his wife’s mission is, “People are tired and hurting and we want to restore them.” In their first year of marriage, they had over 200 guests over to their house for a good time, to bring some levity to their lives, and work towards their mission.
Keep Hacking Away at that Relationship
Which of these relationship hacks are you willing to try? Or do you have any unique relationship hacks of your own? Let us know in the comments.
And if you want something else new to try, get a sample of our Unconventional Monthly, where we take an unconventional look at a new theme every month:
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