10 Things to Make Your Relationship Better
Romance is a very small part of what makes a long-term relationship successful, it's getting the other 98 percent right that makes a couple last in the long haul. It's too bad we don't have any days devoted to issues like communication, fighting fairly, and forgiving. Relationship change requires behavior change, and this is far from easy. Fortunately there are certain, very specific things you--yes, you--can do over the year that may change your relationship for the better. Very often you'll find that your partner quickly and enthusiastically reciprocates, and the entire dynamic of your relationship changes. Focus on the following ten steps and transform your good (or so-so or maybe even deeply troubled) relationship into a great relationship:
Ask yourself: Would I rather be right...or would I rather be happy?
She doesn't load the dishwasher the right way, you leave your socks on the bedroom floor, and she keeps squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle. And these little, everyday toilet-seat-up-or-down issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Couples argue over almost everything--and some do. In order to have a successful relationship, both partners need to accept that we all have our different ways of doing things. What's more, you both need to realize that accepting those differences is a key to a peaceful relationship. No one wants to be micromanaged, especially in their own home. If you just want to be right and prove your point on everything, your relationship is likely to fail. The fact is that often, there isn't a right or a wrong way, just different ways. Assuming that yours is the right--and only--way is arrogant and disrespectful. Think about the big picture. Does it really matter how chores are done or is this really just about control?
Master the fine art of communication.
It sounds so simple: she speaks, you listen; and vice versa. But it's actually more complex than it sounds. Communication is at the root of the problems faced by almost every couple I've ever seen. Gender differences, contrasting thinking styles, and different personalities can all make communication inside a relationship especially difficult. If you can learn to communicate effectively with your partner, you are well on your way to a successful and happy partnership and also a better night's sleep for the both of you. The biggest mistake that couples make is not realizing the need to create an environment that allows their partner to talk freely about their thoughts and feelings. If your wife doesn't reveal too much about herself, it may be that she is not very skilled at doing that--or it may be that every time she tries to tell you something she gets shot down. People simply won't talk if they think they are going to get criticized in some way. Be respectful and listen. You may not understand or agree but you should always respect your partner's right their viewpoint.
Learn to fight fair.
You've probably heard that couples argue most about Sex and Finances. But are these disputes really about sex and money or are they about something else? Emotional discussions by their very nature are about more important underlying issues, like trust, control, or jealousy. It's just that money and sex are the currency of control in many relationships; how you handle these conflicts will determine whether the underlying problem is exacerbated or resolved. So how do you fight fair? Well, there are some guidelines: calling time-outs when things get too heated, never fighting in front of anyone else, not dragging unnecessary skeletons out of the closet, and so forth; but for the most part, fighting fair means trying to solve the issue rather than trying to tally up who's better than who when it comes to you and your partner. Try to abandon the usual strategy of trying to win at all costs. Instead, work toward a productive resolution that you can both accept.
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