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Top Ten Tips for Happy Relationships

Someone once told me they never understood the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” until they got married.  Why is it that so often the more time we spend with someone, the harder it is to get along with person?  It seems the things that are the most attractive when you are first dating are the characteristics that end up driving you crazy!  If you feel this way, you are not alone. Being happy in a long-term relationship like marriage takes deliberate effort, and sometimes a little help with couples counseling!

Below are some tips I have discovered through experience with many couples over the years. Some of these tips are also adapted from the Gottman Institute which has been conducting 40 years of research on what makes marriages succeed or fail. The Gottman Institute has also developed methods for marriage counseling which I use in my relationship counseling. If you and your partner will each chose to start living by these guidelines, you will find that familiarity breeds friendship and intimacy, not contempt!

  1.  Take time to understand each other – what is his biggest source of stress, her biggest dream – know what is important to your partner. If you don’t know, ask!
  2. Tell your partner what you appreciate about him/her each day.
  3. Express affection daily – by words and physical touch.
  4. Accept your partner exactly the way he/she is. People are more apt to make improvements if they feel basically liked and accepted just as they are.
  5. Make statements that start with “I” instead of “you”. (“I feel” or “I want” rather than “you make me feel” or “you should”)
  6. Take a break when someone gets too emotional when arguing. Take time to cool down and agree to come back to the discussion later.
  7. Let your partner know that you understand how he/she feels, even if it doesn’t make complete sense to you.
  8. Admit when you are wrong and forgive when your partner is wrong.
  9. Be polite – use your manners!
  10. Have fun – laughter really is good medicine!!

If you need help understanding or using these top ten tips, please give me call at 727-437-6222. Everyone needs guidance from time to time, and the most important relationship in your life is worth it!