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Nine Relationship Check-Up Tips


By Linda Young, Ph.D.

We see our primary care physician regularly for a physical check-up. We take our car in for regular check-ups. But have you ever thought that we may also occasionally need a relationship check-up? Do you ever wonder why some relationships go the distance while others fall apart very quickly? One answer may lie in how couples treat each other on a day-to-day basis.

Here are nine tips in helping with your own "relationship checkup" :

  • Treat your spouse or partner as you would your best friend or best client. It's unfortunate that at times we treat our closest and dearest relationships in rude or even cruel ways.
  • Think of ways you can do the unexpected and thoughtful. Remember how you acted when you were first dating and wanted to impress your loved one. Plan and carry out something spontaneous on occasion.
  • Look for ways to compliment your spouse or partner. We all enjoy genuine compliments to brighten our day. Look for those qualities that first attracted you to your loved one.
  • Express your thoughts and feelings carefully. While it's important to be emotionally open and intimate with our significant other, being in a relationship doesn't give anyone permission to "let it all hang out" in a hurtful manner.
  • Learn to let go of the small stuff in disagreements. While serious conflict needs to be addressed, many couples argue over issues of little consequence. It can be helpful to ask yourself when you're annoyed with your loved one, "will this matter next week?"
  • Spend regular time together alone. It's difficult to remain emotionally close without making an effort to spend quality time together. A danger in long-term relationships is feeling as if you're living "parallel lives" under the same roof. Relationships don't run on "automatic pilot". They take effort and work.
  • Acknowledge each other's comings and goings. Hug when you say hello and goodbye. Regular physical touch conveys caring and is an expression of love. Tell each other "I love you" every day. When you say the words, look each other in the eyes. All too frequently, we throw our "love 'ya" out as we're headed out the door.
  • It's important to slow down and spend some time focusing on each other at the end of the day. One couple I know have what they refer to as their "wind down" time each evening. They spend 20-30 minutes each evening checking in with each other and discussing the events of their day.
  • Research has found that couples whose marriages or relationships last the longest have learned to separate from their families of origin (their own parents and siblings) and have appropriate, healthy boundaries. This means that they have appropriate contact with their families, without permitting their families to interfere with their lifestyle and decision-making.

Relating successfully to another person requires developing a set of skills we each can learn. Best-selling author Michael Webb has put together 1,000 of the most important questions couples should ask each other in order to deepen their relationship. These questions are designed to help you really get to know the thoughts, feelings and desires of your loved one or spouse. To learn more about 1000 Questions for Couples , go to: http://tinyurl.com/3adrp4.

Have some thoughts about marriage, sex and romance? Discuss it in our forums

Dr.Linda Young is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Tallahassee, Florida. She works with both adolescents and adults in her private practice, specializing in the treatment of mood disorders, relationship concerns, grief issues and chemical dependency treatment. Linda Young, Ph.D. may be contacted at http://www.mentalhealthcorner.com or info@mentalhealthcorner.com

Categories: Just for me, Relationships & Marriage,

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