7 Solutions That Can Save a Relationship
Rocky road? Get your love life back on track.
Relationship Problem: Conflict
Occasional conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to New York-based psychologist Susan Silverman. But if you and your partner feel like you are starring in your own nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day, it's time to break free of this toxic routine. When you make the effort, you can reduce the anger and take a calm look at underlying issues.
Conflict resolution skills can help you and your partner learn to argue in a more constructive manner, says Silverman. 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 directed toward resolution, 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 same way that has 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 an essential part of a relationship. Are there certain behaviors that are causing you not to trust your partner, or do you have unresolved issues that are hindering you from trusting others?
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.
Despite the fact there are always going to be problems in a relationship, Sherman says there are things you can both do to minimize marriage problems if not avoid them altogether.