Tip 4: Learn to give and take in your relationship
Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, affectionate contact for brain development. And the benefits don’t end in childhood. Affectionate contact boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment.
While sex is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch-holding hands, hugging, kissing-is equally important.
Of course, it’s important to be sensitive to what your partner likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat-exactly what you don’t want. As with so many other aspects of a healthy relationship, this can come down to how well you communicate your needs and intentions with your partner.
Even if you have pressing workloads or young children to worry about, you can help to keep physical intimacy alive by carving out some regular couple time, whether that’s in the form of a date night or simply an hour at the end of the day when you can sit and talk or hold hands.
If you expect to get what you want 100% of the time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy relationships are built on compromise. However, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.
Recognize what’s important to your partner
Knowing what is truly important to your partner can go a long way towards building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs will only build resentment and anger.
Don’t make “winning” your goal
If you approach your partner with the attitude that things have to be your way or else, it will be difficult to reach a compromise. Sometimes this attitude comes from not having your needs met while younger, or it could be years of accumulated resentment in the relationship reaching a boiling point. It’s alright to have strong convictions about something, but your partner deserves to be heard as well. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.
Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but to keep a relationship strong, both people need to feel they’ve been heard. The goal is not to win but to maintain and strengthen the relationship.
Make sure you are fighting fair. Keep the focus on the issue at hand and respect the other person. Don’t start arguments over things that cannot be changed.
Don’t attack someone directly but use “I” statements to communicate how you feel. For example, instead of saying, “You make me feel bad” try “I feel bad when you do that”.
Don’t drag old arguments into the mix. Rather than looking to past conflicts or grudges and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem.
If tempers flare, take a break. Take a few minutes to relieve stress and calm down before you say or do something you’ll regret. Always remember that you’re arguing with the person you love.
Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
Tip 5: Be prepared for ups and downs
It’s important to recognize that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You won’t always be on the same page. Sometimes one partner may be struggling with an issue that stresses them, such as the death of a close family member. Other events, like job loss or severe health problems, can affect both partners and make it difficult to relate to each other. You might have different ideas of managing finances or raising children.