When I first met my husband back in 2012, we were both a bit relationship jaded. We’d each been through the heartbreak of a relationship destroyed by complacency, and we were scared of getting hurt again. Loving someone is vulnerable, and it took over a year before we finally felt safe enough to go ‘all in’.
Reaching that point meant trusting we were on the same page. Not just in our relationship, but in the vision we had for our lives. And if there’s one philosophy that helped us create that vision, it’s minimalism.
Minimalism is a powerful philosophy for a more meaningful, joy-filled life, and it’s been game-changing for us. It hasn’t just helped us create our ideal lifestyle – it’s helped us stay connected through the ups and downs along the way.
It keeps us focused on what’s truly important in our relationship, so we always feel appreciated and chosen. It prevents us from taking each other for granted or allowing our connection to become stale.
So if you’re looking for ways to strengthen your relationship, here are 4 ways minimalism can help.
1. Be Present
Sometimes your partner is trying to tell you about their day, but you’re busy thinking about that unsent email. Or they come home from work and you barely look up from your phone. Over time this wears a relationship down. But minimalism can help.
Minimalism isn’t just about owning fewer things – it’s about being present in your life. But it requires conscious effort.
When you’re together, remove as many distractions as possible. If your partner asks for your attention, give it to them completely. Unplug from technology as much as you can. It will help you both feel more appreciated and important, and will open the door to deeper connection as well.
2. Simplify your time together
A lot of couples complain to us that they don’t have enough time for each other. But when we scratch the surface, the reason why soon becomes apparent: Their schedules are jam-packed with work, social engagements and outings.
It sounds great at first (look at all the cool funky things we’re doing!). But overscheduling means you miss out on the things that matter most: quality time with your loved ones.
When it comes to experiences in life, the same minimalism rules apply as they do to ‘things’: less is more, and quality over quantity.
Find what you love doing together and do that. For us it’s swimming in the ocean, bird watching and nature walks. We simply prioritize these activities as much as possible.
But sometimes the most fulfilling experiences are when you don’t do much at all: a snuggly Sunday morning at home together can be the best kind of quality time there is.
3. Create a solid financial plan
One benefit of minimalism is that you end up spending less, which usually means you have more money in the bank. That extra cash can help remove the relationship strain that money woes and debt can bring. But are you using that money to its full advantage?
With the power of compound interest, some of your biggest relationship goals could be closer than you realize. We first created our financial plan when we stumbled across the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early). This one article completely changed our relationship with money and helped us created a level of financial freedom we’d never dreamed out.
Your relationship goals may have nothing to do with early retirement (it’s not our main goal either). Whether you want to start a business, travel the world or become a full-time philanthropist, a solid financial plan will help you get there.
4. Appreciate the Little Moments (And say thank you)
Minimalism has taught us to appreciate and value the everyday blessings without the need to chase bigger and better. And it’s a deeply nourishing mindset for our relationship too.
The small moments make up the fabric of your relationship, and they’re consistently the things people say they miss the most when their partner’s not around.
Waking up next to your love first thing in the morning. The way they stick out their tongue when they’re concentrating. Snuggling on the couch together to watch your favorite TV show. These precious moments are there every single day, yet too often we miss them.
Minimalism helps you to slow down and notice these little things. It enriches your connection and appreciation for each other. It helps you realize just how full and meaningful your life really is, no matter how many ‘things’ you own.
Applying minimalism to your relationship doesn’t have to be hard. It’s about identifying what’s important to you, prioritizing it and then letting go of the rest. Whether it’s improving your quality time or creating inspiring financial goals, a little bit can go a long way in creating a happier and healthier relationship.
How could your relationship benefit from these tips? What areas of your relationship need the most love right now?