Emotional Fitness

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

Ten Actions That Create Relationship Happiness

We all need to take some time to "work" on our relationships

I have often been asked, "What makes a relationship work?" Here are my Top 10 Tips for a successful relationship.

These are things couples in successful relationships do. Don't try to do them all at once; pick one and see how it works for you, then try another.

Not everything is going to work for everybody, but using any one of these tips will improve your relationship.

1. Have a relationship meeting, where you talk face to face once a week.

This should be very private, uninterrupted time in which you and your partner can focus only on each other.

Here are some ideas of what your session should include: A. Connect with each other by holding hands and looking into each other's eyes. B. Decide whether you are going to talk about what's going on right now, or resolve old issues. C. Share the vision and goals of your relationship. D. End the evening with a "date" or fun activity after the discussion.

2. Make sure you have your partner's attention before you talk.

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To communicate, you first must agree to listen and make sure you are being heard. Simply ask, "Is this a good time for us to talk?" Your partner should be truthful. If it's not a good time, don't try to force the conversation. Instead, schedule a time when you both will be able to give your full attention. Never try to hold a conversation when your partner's attention is focused on something else.

There are times when it isn't appropriate to make an appointment to talk. During crises, your partner needs you now, not later. At these times, be sensitive; drop what you are doing, and be prepared to listen and talk.

3. Give in on the little things.

There are only two big things in life: birth and death. Everything else is small stuff. Be willing to give in on the small stuff. Few things will do more to improve the relationship. Plus, when you give in on the little stuff, the big things tend to go your way.

If you are both invested in an issue, assign a rating (on a scale of 1 to 10) to see who should give in. If something is a 10 for your partner but only a 5 for you, give in. This also works well with family and children.

4. Find ways to say "I love you" without saying "I love you."

Practice random acts of kindness with your partner. Leave coded messages. Do nice things for no reason. In other words, do all the little things you did when courting your lover that have now fallen by the wayside.

Give to your partner in the ways he or she wishes to be given to.

5. Communicate your feelings in a loving, constructive way as soon as circumstances permit.

One of the quickest ways to kill a relationship is to nurse grudges and harbor resentment. These never lead to positive outcomes; they only lead to unkindness, anger and sadness.

If you aren't comfortable talking to your partner about issues, find someone else to talk to. You must find an outlet for your frustrations, or they will creep in and damage your relationship.

6. Be a team player.

You can't be in a relationship for yourself; both parties have to give 100 percent to get 100 percent.

One good tool for working on your relationship is to create a "wish list" of fun things you would like to do with your partner. List three or four things you would like to do in the next few weeks. These should be small, fun things that are easy to do, and each spouse should be willing to go along with the other's list.

In effect, you and your partner are granting each other a wish, so don't put something on the list that will cause major conflict.

7. Work on your relationship.

The biggest difference between relationships that work and the ones that don't are the couples in the relationships that work, work on them. This keeps you from taking each other for granted.

You have to be committed to making the relationship work, and part of that commitment means becoming a team player.

8. Create new goals together.

Goals create deeper understanding and strengthen loving relationships. It is necessary to re-evaluate your goals once you have achieved some or all of them because happiness comes from moving toward what you want, not getting it.

Creating new goals together can help create deeper understanding and strengthen loving relationships.

9. Fight fair.

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. If you fight fair, conflict can be resolved in a positive, constructive manner.

Some rules for constructive arguing include the following: A. Don't ambush your partner; pick a time that is good for both of you to talk in private. B. Don't name-call or belittle your partner. Criticize the behavior, not the person. C. Remember, using "old stuff" or "stockpiling" is not constructive to solving problems. D. Never threaten your relationship; emotional blackmail will only escalate discomfort.

10. Act romantic and you will feel romantic.

When it comes to sex, don't wait for the "mood" to come over you. Set the scene, play the part and you will be surprised how easy the romantic feelings come.

A difficult part about life is how much time it takes to live, and how little time is left to put into your relationship.

When a problem comes up in your business, you jump on it right away, but when a problem comes up in your relationship, it's easy to find a million excuses to ignore it or hope it will go away.

We all need to take some time to "work" on our relationships.

 

 

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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