November 06, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

  1. Make thoughtful decisions about how and when to say what to your partner; tact and timing make honesty possible.
  2. No one can happily survive a relationship if they feel more judged than admired.
  3. Aim for a 5:1 ration of positive to negative interactions.  If you can't find a way to be positive towards your partner you've lost perspective.
  4. Express appreciation of your partner's special strengths, and the more deeply you will appreciate that person.
  5. Warm your partner's heart by doing the little things, and sticking to them.
  6. Choose happiness over righteousness - don't let the need to be right prevent you from "getting back into the sandbox" with your partner.
  7. When you agree to do something, no matter how small, do it.
  8. Be the one to change first.
  9. Every "YOU" statement can be turned into an "I" statement.  Whereas "YOU" statements blame, "I" statements are non-judgmental.
  10. Always and Never are rarely accurate descriptors, avoid them.
  11. Surprise your partner with a compliment when they are expecting criticism.
  12. Provide no more than 1 criticism per day.
  13. Advice should be asked, not offered.
  14. Even though the desire to relate is strong, you DON'T know how your partner feels about a situation.  Instead, stay curious.
  15. Moving from defensiveness to curiosity about your partners position is more important than scoring points in an argument.
  16. Don't let defensiveness prevent you from hearing the grains of truth in receiving feedback - it's a gift.
  17. A willingness to apologize is often contagious.
  18. Don't wait until you're in the mood to have sex.  Push yourself once in a while to avoid your libido going into deep freeze, especially after having kids.
  19. Don't let your partner be the "Bad Guy" - your kids will lose respect for you.
  20. Real change often occurs at glacial speed.  It's the direction, not the speed of travel that matters. 

Adapted from Marriage Rules a manual for the married and the coupled up, by Harriet Lerner, PH.D.

Have a tip not listed here?  Drop us a line below in the comments.