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14 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong, Healthy, and Happy

Ways to keep a relationship strong and healthy

We’ve all heard that a relationship “takes work,” but what does that mean exactly?

Frankly, it sounds like drudgery.  Who wants to spend hours at an office only to come home to job number two?  Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to think of your relationship as a source of comfort, fun, and pleasure?

Of course it would.  That said, here are some basic fixes if things feel stagnant, if the good times are becoming few and far between, if arguing is your main form of communication, or if you just feel that you need a tune-up.  And they might even be enjoyable.

1. Don’t argue over money : It’s practically a guaranteed relationship killer.  If you haven’t yet had a conversation about how money is earned, spent, saved, and shared, do it now.  Try to get an understanding of how each of you sees your financial life, and where the differences are.  Then address them.

2. Try not to focus on trifles : Is it worth fighting about?  More to the point, is it really a trifle?  Often a seemingly minor issue is a manifestation of a larger problem.  Talk about what’s really bothering you, instead of how loud the TV is.

3. Share your thoughts: Your hopes.  Your fears.  Your passions.  Let your partner know who you really are.  Set aside some time each day just to talk about the things that are important to each of you, as individuals.

4. Be friendly: Treat your partner the way you’d treat a good and trusted friend: with respect, consideration, and kindness.

5. Resolve arguments together: When couples fight, it’s all too easy to get locked into a win/lose dynamic.  Think of your disagreement as a problem for you both to solve, not a fight for you to win.  Think of saying “we” before giving into the temptation of casting blame on the other person.

6. Show affection daily: Sex is one thing.  Holding hands, a hug, a squeeze on the arm – all create connection and trust.  If you’re not getting as much attention as you want, let it be known.

7. Focus on the positive: What do you appreciate about your partner?  What first attracted you?  What do you treasure about your life together?

8. Be supportive: Nothing kills a buzz like a negative or absent response to something you’re enthusiastic about.

9. Words plus deeds: Saying “I love you” carries much more weight when you consistently do things that your partner values.

10. Recognize that all relationships have ups and downs: Think long-term.  Your relationship is an investment, like the stock market.  Ride out the down times.  With the right kind of attention, they will be temporary.

11. Respect each other when arguing: It is all too tempting to use whatever ammunition you’ve got in the heat of battle.  Ask yourself, where will it get you?  A partner who is likely to come to your side, or one who will get even more defensive?  Ask your partner how he or she sees the problem.

12.Have each other’s back: and let that be known.

13. Set goals as a couple: Talk about how you want your relationship to look in a year, five years, ten years.  Then work toward that goal.

14. Make your partner a priority: That is why you’re in this relationship in the first place.

  VERIFIED EXPERT
Marcie Scranton is an LMFT who specializes in relationship conflicts, major life transitions, depression, anxiety, and issues arising from recovery. In addition, she is trained in Trauma-Focused CBT, Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Her approach is results-oriented and incorporates modalities based on Attachment, Existentialist Theory, Object Relations, and Family Systems.

More by Marcie Scranton

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