Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

The Lessons of Real Love

It's the little things make a big difference in relationships.

Some couples find that, while it can be deceptively easy to get their relationships back on track after a normal disagreement, it’s much harder to keep it moving in that direction, especially when unexpected events derail us. It’s important to remember that even the most stable relationships experience turmoil. Difficulties and distractions are part of life, and they can’t help but have an effect on our relationships. Instead of being ignored or argued about, they should be confronted head-on, and with an eye toward the future.

Keeping a relationship balanced is an area where many people make major mistakes. Once couples begin to get back on course romantically, they need to remember that maintaining a satisfying relationship requires regular attention and upkeep in all areas. Truth is that all it really takes is ten minutes a day to “check in” with your partner. Just as a successful physical fitness program requires a lifelong commitment, when it comes to emotional fitness, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of regular relationship maintenance.

 The “little” things can make a big difference. Focusing on integrating continuous positive behaviors into your overall lifestyle is paramount to maintaining a good and loving connection. Learning how to cope with major, but common challenges, like finances, kids, and even illness is a necessity. Once you incorporate relationship enhancing techniques like forgiveness, and begin to change the negative behaviors that cause problems in your relationship, your issues become manageable and your connection deeper.

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While talking through problems doesn’t always take away the pain, communicating gently and effectively can help couples to avoid pitfalls that cause unnecessary issues from surfacing in the first place. Most successful couples have certain behaviors, skills and practices in common, and the most essential of all is communication. Couples must learn that communication is the most important thing in their relationship. If you don't take the risk to speak what's in your heart, it will become to heavy and your true feelings will leak out, and that usually happens in inappropriate ways.

When a couple is experiencing relationship difficulty, the journey toward healing can be so emotionally volatile that a person may lose the ability to identify what he or she is feeling.  Hurt, pain, and anger begin to blend in our minds, but in fact they are very different emotions that need specialized care.

If you hurt each other, talk about it and make the appropriate apologies and adjustments so it doesn't happen again. Just learning to say "I'm sorry" can be one of the most healing couples can do to reconnect. What most couples don’t know is that hurt, pain and anger are normal, natural and really can be milestones on the path to a healthy relationship.

Learning and practicing loves lessons will help you both be the best partner's you can. It's worth the effort because the rewards are a full heart and life.

 

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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