Each day, someone will ask me, “Can you help me with my relationship?” Quite often, it is followed by, “My husband (or wife) won’t come to therapy.” I’m here to tell you it’s okay. Believe it or not, one person can affect far more change in a relationship than you might have thought. I’ve seen tremendous success watching people learn how to improve relationships all on their own. Here are my 7 relationship tips to start using today:
1. Speak up. Most people don’t do this, but rather try to keep it all in in order to avoid conflict. But not expressing yourself does more harm than good. The reality is that bottled up feelings lead to resentment, which leads both to more frequent and more intense arguments, and to apathy, which destroys relationships.
2. Make it about you. Really. You could say, “You never take me out anymore”, which sounds like an attack and will lead to defensiveness, or “I’d love to plan a night out with you soon. I really need it.” Try both and see which one works.
3. Stop rolling your eyes and making a big deal about everything. Nobody wants to be around someone who does that, including your spouse. This is often why he (or she) chooses to work such long hours. It’s nothing more than avoidance of an unpleasant environment at home.
4. Validate you partner’s feelings. You know how much you want your partner to acknowledge you, your feelings, and all that you do. So do it first. It could be as simple as “I know how upset you must be that you didn’t get that promotion. You work so hard and really deserved it.”
5. Try to stop and consider things from your partner’s perspective. For example, you are mad because he never helps out and works late every night. But, from his angle, all you do is nag and he doesn’t like coming home to that.
6. Make peace with the fact that you cannot change another person. So all those things he or she does that annoy you probably won’t stop any time soon. Let some of it go, and pick your battles.
7. Thank your partner each and every time you notice him or her working on the relationship, doing something you’ve asked, or doing something better or different. It is much easier to keep on doing the same thing, so all efforts should be acknowledged.
These relationships tips really do work. You CAN solve problems in a relationship. Even skeptics have seen results. It’s not always easy to do, but your relationship is worth it!