Emotional Fitness

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

10 Steps to a Closer Relationship

Tten tools that successful couples use to make their relationships work

 
Good relationships almost never just happen. They usually are a combination of hard work, honest communication, and going the extra mile to add a little magic.
 
Here are ten tools that long-term successful couples use to make their relationships work.
 
1.Talk and plan for the future. Goals are important to your overall happiness, and having a contingency plan in case of an emergency will allow you to enjoy your time together more thoroughly.
 

2. Compliment your mate. Kind words, given at the right time, are fuel for the future to those who are fortunate enough to receive them. Giving compliments to the one you love helps to keep you connected.
 
3. Ask questions. Show interest in what your other half is doing by asking about what’s going on in his or her life and how he or she is feeling about things. This will create an opportunity to keep your emotions balanced.
 
4. Be considerate of your partner’s feelings. Making a joke at someone else’s expense always stings the other person. Name-calling is downright insulting. If you engage in this dangerous game, stop while you still have someone to play with.
 
5. Take care of the business side of your relationship. Money is the cause of nearly one-third of all divorces. If you’re having financial issues, get some professional help to get back on track.
 
6. Be accountable for your actions. If you screw up, admit it and apologize if it’s called for. Keep your word and know that trust is something that is continually earned.
 
7. Give emotional support. This may be the single-most valuable component in a relationship. Having someone in your corner while you navigate through your problem de jour is a gift of the highest order.
 
8. Stay connected physically. Holding hands, exchanging foot rubs, the feel of your partner’s hand touching your back as you pass by each other in the hallway—these moments are as important as making love. One day they will be more important.
 
9. Be polite. Even if you’re offended for the moment, it’s always best to keep your anger in check. As soon as an opportunity arises to discuss what happened, take it. You don’t want to hold on to anything that you don’t need to. You may also find that if you wait an hour or two, the issues (or at least the anger) will have gone away.
 
10. Keep your mind open and your heart reserved. People change. If one day your partner takes up transcendental meditation or changes political parties, you need to be open-minded enough to go with the flow. Make an agreement that, no matter what, you will still love each other.
 
Using any one of these tools every now and then will help keep your relationship more peaceful and make you more desirable. Using several on a regular basis will give you a sense joy that you may never have experienced before.

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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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