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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: 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."

Relationship Problem: Trust

Trust is a key part of a relationship. Do you see certain things that cause you not to trust your partner? Or do you have unresolved issues that prevent you from trusting others?

Problem-solving strategies:

You and your partner can develop trust in each other by following these tips, Fay says.

  • Be consistent.
  • Be on time.
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Don't lie -- not even little white lies to your partner or to others.
  • Be fair, even in an argument.
  • Be sensitive to the other's feelings. You can still disagree, but don't discount how your partner is feeling.
  • Call when you say you will.
  • Call to say you'll be home late.
  • Carry your fair share of the workload.
  • Don't overreact when things go wrong.
  • Never say things you can't take back.
  • Don't dig up old wounds.
  • Respect your partner's boundaries.
  • Don’t be jealous.
  • Be a good listener.

Even though there are always going to be problems in a relationship, Sherman says you both can do things to minimize marriage problems, if not avoid them altogether.  

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