20 Tips to Happy Coupling
- Make thoughtful decisions about how and when to say what to your partner; tact and timing make honesty possible.
- No one can happily survive a relationship if they feel more judged than admired.
- 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.
- Express appreciation of your partner's special strengths, and the more deeply you will appreciate that person.
- Warm your partner's heart by doing the little things, and sticking to them.
- Choose happiness over righteousness - don't let the need to be right prevent you from "getting back into the sandbox" with your partner.
- When you agree to do something, no matter how small, do it.
- Be the one to change first.
- Every "YOU" statement can be turned into an "I" statement. Whereas "YOU" statements blame, "I" statements are non-judgmental.
- Always and Never are rarely accurate descriptors, avoid them.
- Surprise your partner with a compliment when they are expecting criticism.
- Provide no more than 1 criticism per day.
- Advice should be asked, not offered.
- Even though the desire to relate is strong, you DON'T know how your partner feels about a situation. Instead, stay curious.
- Moving from defensiveness to curiosity about your partners position is more important than scoring points in an argument.
- Don't let defensiveness prevent you from hearing the grains of truth in receiving feedback - it's a gift.
- A willingness to apologize is often contagious.
- 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.
- Don't let your partner be the "Bad Guy" - your kids will lose respect for you.
- 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.