If you and your beloved are knee-deep in petty domestic disputes, and tensions at home are so thick that you can’t even stomach the sound of your significant other eating dinner (do you have to eat your peas like that?), then it’s probably time to roll up your sleeves and dig into a little relationship DIY improvement.
Here are 5 tips for patching up the cracks in your house of love:
1. Start with a coat of “conflict is normal.”
Think fights about money, sex, and the division of labor are unique to you and your partner alone? Think again. They’re the three major reasons people seek marriage therapy! Realize that these issues aren’t peculiar or particular to your alliance or its health, and then you can begin to tackle solving them with smarter communication techniques.
2. Layer on some feelings — avoiding those pesky facts with their sharp corners.
When it comes to marital relationships you don’t focus on facts you focus on feelings. You’re not with the other person because of the facts about the other person. You’re with the other person because of the feelings you have for them and hopefully the feelings they have for you.
3. Put “I” language in your communication-friendly tool belt.
You may have been given the green light to get emotional but you must do it wisely. That means no accusatory “you” language: ‘You never do this…You always do that…’ Instead, stick to “I” language.
When you stick to I language — I think, I feel, I believe — you’re Teflon, you’re bullet-proof. You are the world’s leading authority on you. More importantly, when you choose “I” over “you” your partner is less likely to feel attacked by what you’re saying and therefore is more likely to listen to how you feel.
4. Fluff the pillows in the boudoir, metaphorically speaking.
Boring sex life? You really need to talk about it. One of the biggest issues surrounding sexual dissatisfaction in long-term relationships is the inability to speak honestly about what’s going right and what’s going wrong in the bedroom. Start by asking your partner what’s working in the boudoir and what’s not and then make creative suggestions along the lines of ‘We’ve never tried…’
5. Maintenance work: talk to your partner every day.
The best relationship maintenance is conversation, so talk to your partner for at least 20 minutes every day
Whether it’s a jovial chat about work while sipping a glass of wine, or a tea and cookies hand-holding session while your partner whines about how much he loathes the commute, make sure that these chats center on the small-scale, innocuous details of life. The more meaningless the information we share during whine/wine time, the more it cements people together. This daily interaction acts as “relationship glue.”