Emotional Fitness

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

8 Great Ways to Get Along Better with Your Partner

There are many ways to retool your relationship to make it better for you both

One thing I have learned is that there are many ways to retool your relationship to make it better for both of you. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Stop trying to change your partner. Expecting your partner to change lifelong behaviors will take you down a fruitless path. But you can help your partner make some improvements if you ask in the right way. The difference is one of motivation. If you let your lover know that you would feel closer to him or her and would be willing to reciprocate, it can make that person want to move mountains.
  • Don’t assume that you know your partner’s goals. Sit down and talk about both your partner’s goals and your own. Get on the same page about where you want to be in ten or twenty years. When you know you are working toward the same things, you will feel happier and more secure.
  • Make sure that you respect your partner’s values. This is an area where differences can create problems for a relationship. You can have differing political opinions or religious beliefs, but nothing will push you further apart than feeling like your values are not honored.
  • Don’t indulge in petty resentments. So your mate is messy or always leaves the car on empty, Look we’re all human. Think about it. Even at your most perfect, I’m sure one could find an annoying flaw or two. Now drop your grudge and move on. It will make your life easier.
  • Study your partner’s communication style. If your partner is more of a visual communicator, make sure you talk face to face when you have something important to say. If your other half is a talker, learn to listen better. If your mate is an emotional communicator, it will help to hold hands and speak softly. Paraphrase what you’ve said to each other to make sure you have heard one another correctly.
  • Work on finding a middle ground. You may not always see eye to eye, but you can dance cheek to cheek your whole life through, if you learn to compromise. If you both accept that you won’t get everything you want and that giving up a little isn’t the same as giving in, you will get along much better.
  • Trust that you have made the right choice. If you’re not getting along at the moment, remember that you have done it before and you will do it again. You have grown with your partner and are better for it. Sometimes our greatest difficulties bring us closer together. It’s because we are supposed to help heal each other.
  • Take responsibility for your behavior. If you have crossed a line, admit it. If you have said something hurtful, apologize, and if you know that you are wrong, say so. These actions will keep the relationship on solid ground.

Too much time gets spent dealing with things after they have gone wrong. Using these tools will help prevent problems and make life with your partner more enjoyable.

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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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