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7 Solutions That Can Save a Relationship

Rocky road? Get your love life back on track.
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Relationship Problem: Struggles Over Home Chores

Most partners work outside the home and often at more than one job. So it's important to fairly divide the labor at home, says Paulette Kouffman-Sherman, author of Dating From the Inside Out.

Problem-solving strategies:

  • Be organized and clear about your respective jobs in the home, Kouffman-Sherman says. "Write all the jobs down and agree on who does what." Be fair so no resentment builds.
  • Be open to other solutions, she says. If you both hate housework, maybe you can spring for a cleaning service. If one of you likes housework, the other partner can do the laundry and the yard. You can be creative and take preferences into account -- as long as it feels fair to both of you.

Relationship Problem: Not Making Your Relationship a Priority

If you want to keep your love life going, making your relationship a focal point should not end when you say "I do." "Relationships lose their luster. So make yours a priority," says Karen Sherman, author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last.

Problem-solving strategies:

  • Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: Show appreciation, compliment each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other.
  • Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life.
  • Respect one another. Say "thank you," and "I appreciate..." It lets your partner know that they matter.

Relationship Problem: Conflict

Occasional conflict is a part of life, according to New York-based psychologist Susan Silverman. But if you and your partner feel like you're starring in your own nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day -- i.e. the same lousy situations keep repeating day after day -- it's time to break free of this toxic routine. When you make the effort, you can lessen the anger and take a calm look at underlying issues.

Problem-solving strategies:

You and your partner can learn to argue in a more civil, helpful manner, Silverman says. Make these strategies part of who you are in this relationship.

  • Realize you are not a victim. It is your choice whether you react and how you react.
  • Be honest with yourself. When you're in the midst of an argument, are your comments geared toward resolving the conflict, or are you looking for payback? If your comments are blaming and hurtful, it's best to take a deep breath and change your strategy.
  • Change it up. If you continue to respond in the way that's brought you pain and unhappiness in the past, you can't expect a different result this time. Just one little shift can make a big difference. If you usually jump right in to defend yourself before your partner is finished speaking, hold off for a few moments. You'll be surprised at how such a small shift in tempo can change the whole tone of an argument.
  • Give a little; get a lot. Apologize when you're wrong. Sure it's tough, but just try it and watch something wonderful happen.

"You can't control anyone else's behavior," Silverman says. "The only one in your charge is you."

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