“Scorekeeping is a useful way to determine winners and losers between opposing teams, but in relationships, both partners should be on the same team.” — Emily Cook, PhD, LCMFT
Healthy, happy relationships are what everyone strives for, but it’s not necessarily always an option. The truth is, some marriages start out amazing and start to struggle a little over time as couples navigate the ups and downs of married life. What that means is it’s time for you and your partner to start looking at what’s going on in your relationship and start making some changes. If you’re already happy and healthy, keeping it that way is a result of working at your marriage and continuing to strive for even better and even more as you go along. You’ll be surprised how great your relationship is.
Talk About the Good
When your partner does something nice for you that you really appreciate or really like, let them know. Don’t just let them flounder wondering if it was good that they did it or bad or indifferent. Remember to thank them and tell them how you felt about it. It’s always good to acknowledge their extra effort especially if your partner does something for you that you know they worked hard on. Even if you didn’t necessarily need them to do it or care if they did, acknowledging the help or the action is going to make them feel more validated and that makes them happier in the relationship.
“It’s not always easy to identify feelings about a situation, but “I” statements can create a foundation for healthier conversation.” — Deanna Richards, LMHC
Talk About the Bad
When your partner does something that you don’t like or there’s something you’d like them to change you need to let them know. Don’t just assume that it’s going to change on its own and don’t just assume that you can live with it. If you let them know they may be able to make some changes that will make you happier. Make sure that you are willing to make some changes for them as well. You don’t want them to be the only one making changes to the relationship. You want them to be happy too and if they feel they’re doing all the changing (or if you do) then no one is going to be happy.
Talk About the Neutral
Make sure you’re telling your partner about the neutral things that happen throughout the day as well. You should want to talk to them about your day and hear about their day. You should talk to them about the minor unimportant things and the big, important ones. Just general conversation is going to keep your relationship healthy and it’s going to make sure that both of you continue to work towards the success of the relationship as well.
“Show your own hand first. Share your vulnerability.” — Bonnie Ray Kennan, PsyD, MFT
Keep Up the Intimacy
It’s not just about having sex, though sex is an important part of your relationship. You also want to make sure that you are just spending time together. Cuddling together or holding hands or just casual touches throughout the day actually help you feel better in your individual life and they improve your relationship as a couple. Make sure you’re continuing to extend the intimacy whenever you can and definitely work on it if it’s not a big part of your life.
The best thing that you can do is keep doing what you’re doing right now because that’s how you’re going to continue improving your relationship and making it work even better for you. There’s no reason for you and your partner to start failing in your relationship now when you’re already doing so well. Whenever you have a problem, make sure you’re talking about it and whenever you have something good to say, talk about it too. Keeping open lines of communication is the most important thing in keeping any relationship healthy and happy.