Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Angela Vaz

If you’re always the one being surprised by your partner’s spontaneity and kindness and you’re always on the receiving end – I hear you.

You want to take initiative in this relationship and you’re ready to make things happen.

Because let’s face it, sitting around and waiting for the stars to align won’t exactly burn the flame in your relationship.

Taking the initiative means seizing the moment, and going out of your way to do nice things for your partner.

So, no more waiting around for your partner to make the first move – it’s time to grab the bull by the horns.

Embrace your inner go-getter!

In this post, I’ll talk to you about how you can take initiative in your relationship and build a stronger, deeper connection with your partner.

Let’s go!

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What does taking initiative mean in a relationship?

what does taking initiative mean in a relationship

Taking initiative means being proactive, assertive, and constantly engaging in actions that nurture the relationship and connection you have with your partner.

It means not waiting for the other person but stepping up and taking responsibility.

By taking the initiative, you show your partner that you are seriously vested in this relationship.

It shows that you are committed and willing to put in an effort so that the relationship can thrive.

This will also strengthen your bond with your partner – a win-win!

Taking initiative means openly communicating with your partner (and not letting them guess) your needs and desires. It could also mean planning dates and being more spontaneous.

I already wrote a post on how to be bolder in a relationship, do give that a read if you’re interested.

7 Ways to take initiative in a Relationship

1. Communicate openly

communicate openly

I always say (in practically every single post) that communication is the key to building a strong and loving relationship.

More than anything, you both need to create a safe and judgment-free space in your relationship.

Foster an environment where both you and your partner feel safe to open up and truly talk about anything and everything.

Encourage open communication by being non-defensive and receptive when your partner shares their thoughts and feelings.

This also means practicing the art of active listening.


You cannot be a good communicator without being a good listener – this has taken me years to learn.

Maintain eye contact, nod and use verbal cues to show that you are really engaged when your partner talks.

My partner and I get very irritated when the other is distracted or seems distracted.

Avoid interrupting went they’re talking.

And when you do talk to them, talk about your desires and concerns.

Always use “I” statements to express yourself.

You can say “I feel that we should spend more time together.” instead of saying, “You don’t spend any time with me.”

This will help your partner listen and contribute instead of going on the defensive.

Basically, I’m saying – don’t blame or criticize your partner.

There’s a way of communicating problems – and you’ll get better with time and practice.

Always make it a point to be more understanding – put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand where they’re coming from.

Remember, both of you come from different backgrounds, and were raised very differently with different values and beliefs.

So, yes, a little work is involved when you’re trying to communicate and understand each other.

Another very important thing to note about communicating openly is to never let things fester.

Don’t let resentments build.

Do you have an issue? Come right out with it – don’t keep it hanging till the next day, and don’t let them figure it out.


They’re not mindreaders.

As you spend more time with each other, improve your communication skills. Learn to talk to each other without getting upset or flying off the handle.

Every single couple has conflicts and disagreements, but how you both discuss them and find a resolution is what matters.

2. Plan meaningful activities

plan meaningful activities

Being spontaneous with your partner comes with practice.

It’s like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

As you continue dating and get to know one another, you’ll get to learn your partner’s interests.

Take this time to learn more about what makes them tick:

  • What are their hobbies and passions?
  • What do they like doing when they’re free?
  • What brings them joy?
  • What do they value a lot?
  • What goals do they have?

And be creative – think outside the box.

Break away from routine and try new and exciting things.

It could be a new sport or hobby, you can both explore a new destination or attend a workshop or class together.

You can also volunteer for a cause you both care about.

It’s difficult if you’ve been dating for a long time or you’ve been married for a long time and you feel you’re losing the spark.

It’s normal – it happens.

You just need to prioritize quality time.

Make sure you actually set aside dedicated quality time for your activities.

You can plan it together – this will create a wonderful sense of excitement!

My partner and I love planning trips together. We plan game nights, we plan road trips – we love planning.

We make little itineraries and we’re both organizing junkies!

Surprise your partner – it can be as simple as a picnic or you can even take them to an arcade or a movie.

These little things make a huge difference.

3. Show appreciation and affection

show appreciation and affection

The little things matter.

When I make my partner coffee and he says “Thank you,” I feel good.

It’s so important to express gratitude because, with time, it can feel like we’re being taken for granted if we don’t voice our love.

Take the time to sincerely thank your partner for the things they do.

You can say things like:

  • Thank you for making me breakfast – I love this!
  • Thank you for always being there – it means so much to me.
  • I love how you take care of me – I feel so lucky.

These small comments nurture love.

If you are a very touchy-touchy person like I am, then give hugs.

Hold hands, cuddle, or steal kisses.

Physical affection helps create a sense of closeness.

And don’t underestimate the tiny acts of love like making them their favorite meal, leaving a small post-it note in their lunch boxes or on their laptop, or taking care of a chore that they usually handle.

These little acts of thoughtfulness go such a long way!

4. Take responsibility for your actions

take responsibility for your actions

Taking initiative in the relationship also means taking responsibility when things go wrong.

It’s so easy to point fingers and put the blame on someone else – don’t do that.

Remember, it’s always both of you against the problem – never let the problem come between the two of you.

Whenever you’re mad and upset, take some time to gain clarity and let things cool down.

Recognize when you’ve made a mistake or acted in a way that hurt your partner.

Instead of making excuses, just be honest with yourself and your partner.

Take ownership and apologize.

This was something I had to learn to do – being an only child meant I wasn’t used to saying sorry.

When you’re apologizing to your partner – express remorse. Be specific about what you’re apologizing for and go out of the way to make amends.

This can mean asking your partner what you can do for them to make things right.

And most importantly – communicate.

I know, I talk a lot about communication.

But believe me when I say that communicating openly actually helps improve the relationship.

Transparency builds trust and understanding.

And of course, learn from your mistakes.

I have the habit of repeating myself till the chore gets done (I nag), I had to unlearn this nagging quality.

It takes real effort to change but self-awareness is important!

5. Be more understanding

be more understanding

As I said earlier, both of you were raised differently – different values, different upbringings, different histories.

So, it’s impossible for 2 people to think and be alike constantly.

Even siblings are poles apart.

This is why, it’s so important to foster empathy.

Always, always try to understand your partner’s perspective.

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to see things from their point of view. If you have trouble understanding, ask them questions with an open mind and heart.

Consider their background, experiences, and emotions that might influence the way they think and behave.

And give your full attention when your partner is speaking – avoid interrupting. Give them the respect and kindness they deserve.

Validate their feelings.

My partner likes being validated – he’s very sentimental and feely-feely and I adore it.

Don’t belittle their emotions even when it doesn’t make sense to you.

Be patient.

Be compassionate.

Understand that your partner may have different needs and desires. They may have different ways of processing information.

Even if both of you are not on the same page – that’s okay.

Every couple has conflicts.

It’s how both of you respect each other’s opinions and try to work towards a solution that matters.

Work together to find common ground or reach a compromise that honors both your needs and your partner’s.

Remember – the goal isn’t to win an argument, it’s to find a solution that works for both of you.

6. Spice things up

spice things up

Spicing things up basically means keeping the flame alive.

With time, that chemistry does dull out – it’s normal, it happens to all couples.

That’s why a relationship is hard work.

It ain’t a walk in the park.

A few ways to spice things up are:

  • Try new experiences together: My partner and I love planning little getaways, sometimes we even take the dogs with us. It can be adventurous like a hike or maybe something creative like cooking lasagne together!
  • Plan date nights: Surprise your partner with a romantic candlelit dinner at home or take them to a restaurant both of you have been meaning to try. Surprise dates inject a sense of anticipation and it’s so much fun!
  • Express your fantasies and desires: Talk to your partner and let them know what’s on your mind. Discuss what excites both of you and try to incorporate those desires into your intimate life.
  • Break out of the bedroom routine – Experiment with different activities and techniques (you both can read books or websites together) and try new positions, toys or even role-playing if you’re both comfortable.
  • Explore each other’s love language: My partner loves acts of service, so I constantly go out of the way to do things for him. I love physical touch, so he goes out of the way to hug me or show me affection physically. Whether it’s words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, or receiving gifts, understand and cater to it.
  • Laugh together: Share laughter, and inside jokes, attend a comedy show, or watch a funny movie. Play games – don’t let that child in you die. Do fun stuff with your partner – it has an amazing effect!

Spicing things up requires continuous effort on both your parts.

You both need to communicate openly and explore new things together.

It’s about finding what works for you and continuously nurturing that love and passion.

7. Invest in self-growth

invest in self growth

No matter what happens – never lose yourself in the relationship.

Both of you have your own individuality and self-identities, preserve that.

At the end of the day, you are you. And your partner is themselves.

You cannot morph into one another and fuse.

Love means choosing one another every single day – it’s a decision.

So, cultivate self-awareness and constantly try to reflect on your thoughts and emotions.

Learn what makes you tick.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses – know what you bring to the table.

And never cast aside your goals.

Both of you should have similar goals and values.

Now both my partner and I don’t want kids. We want to focus our efforts on saving animals and volunteering – we do that.

We have a combined goal, but we also have many personal goals.

You both need to have and pursue individual goals and aspirations.

Maybe you both have different careers and hobbies – good!

Having individual goals allows you to maintain a sense of identity.

Always express yourself openly with your partner.

And don’t forget to take care of yourself. Sometimes, you need “me-time” and that’s okay.

Take a walk, meditate, journal, and exercise.

You can do activities that don’t involve your partner – that’s fine and completely healthy.

And try to invest in your personal development.

Have personal goals and constantly work toward them.

Read, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries – educate yourself and always be willing to learn.

This will help deepen your self-awareness, improve your communication skills, and foster emotional intelligence.

It’s important to evolve in your relationship – this is what helps the relationship thrive and this is what helps you thrive as well.


Taking initiative is important because it shows that you’re not keeping a score.

There is no competition between you and your partner, nor should there be.

Both of you should know your strengths and weaknesses.

For instance, I don’t drive. My partner doesn’t expect me to either, and he drives. And my partner doesn’t have a refined taste for cooking – so I do that.

We both know our skillset and what we bring to the table so sometimes my partner surprises me by taking us out for breakfast and I surprise him by making his favorite meal.

We try to do stuff for each other to keep the relationship healthy.

And as you keep taking initiative, you get better at it!

Here are some more posts you may find helpful:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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