Enjoying a committed relationship is not as hard as it sounds. In fact, a little effort will go a long way in getting off on solid footing and keeping a relationship healthy and happy. Here are five key tips to keep in mind to help break-up proof your relationship.
1) Have the money talk earlyIf you talk to any divorce attorney, they’ll tell you that money is one of the main reasons couples argue, and it’s one of the main factors in divorce. As such, it’s a good idea to sort it out in advance and come to an agreement about how money will be handled. Many couples who both work have arrangements where they keep their money separate and both cover certain bills. Other couples in which one partner doesn’t work will need to come up with an agreement on a budget for miscellaneous expenses, so that they’re not arguing every time he goes golfing or she steps into Lululemon.
2) Plan a monthly check inAt least once a month, sit down and have a meeting with your partner to take an inventory of everything in your relationship. Are you both feeling you are getting enough attention and affection. How about the kids? Are you spending enough time with your family and friends? How about their family and friends? Do you each have enough alone time? How are you feeling about shared responsibilities? Make a list of all the things that are important to you both and go through it at least once a month to ensure everything is in check and being addressed. Some things will be fine one month then the next may need a little more attention. It’s just a good way to check in on things and really address everything as a partnership.
3) Have an activity date night
Make some memories by doing something different than the standard dinner and a movie. There are a ton of things that people can actually do versus the same old same old. For example, bowling, taking a community education class like salsa dancing together, ice skating, or rock climbing are all good ideas for winter activities (If you live in Chicago, here are even more winter date ideas). Taking the time to come up with a unique and interactive date activity will demonstrate that you’re fully engaged in the relationship. And remember: While on your date, talking of kids, work, money, or anything that can bring on stress is off limits.
4) Leave out the “Why’s” We all find ourselves asking our partner, “Why did you do that?” or “Why do you think that’s a good idea?” after they do something that we just don’t understand. These “why” questions will cause your partner to feel defensive, which can cause them to withdraw or lash out in anger. If you ask “What happened?” instead, it helps to get to the core of what is really going on. Also, you will get more information by asking questions that begin with who, what, when, or where, and it won't leave the other person feeling like they have to defend themselves.
5) Apologize quickly and often We’re human, and we’re really good at making mistakes...often. We also know when we’re in the wrong, but we don’t always want to take ownership of it right away and will find ourselves digging a hole that’s deeper and deeper the longer we wait. If we just remember to apologize quickly and often we can avoid major conflicts, and the arguments that are occurring will not get to the magnitude they can when we wait to apologize.
What do you think? Have any of these tips worked to help your relationship, or do you have any methods that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more dating advice.