Below are some tips to keep your relationship off the rocks, and on solid ground.
- Wish Bowl: If your partner doesn't initiate with you romantically and intimately you can encourage him or her by writing down things you like on cards and putting them in a bowl. For example: give a massage, plan a date, have a shower together, create a romantic mood, offer a hug and a kiss when you see each other after work, write poetry, etc. Get your partner to take one card out of the bowl each evening and learn to become intimate. Since they're your ideas you are more likely to respond in a positive fashion.
- Eyes Wide Open: To help connect on an emotional level with your partner take a minute each day to look into your partner's eyes and express how you feel about him or her. Follow it up with a kiss...with your eyes open.
- Gifts from the Heart: Every now and then surprise your partner with a gift. It doesn't have to be anything big but make sure when you give it, you tell your partner how much you love and appreciate the things he or she does for you. It will create a sense of gratitude and your partner will not feel taken for granted.
- Getting Rid of Anger: To release anger in a way that doesn't escalate an argument, find a target that you can pretend is the person you are angry with and throw bean bags at it. Verbalize what that person does to make you angry. On each throw you release your resentment and frustration both verbally and physically. This way you don't take it out on your partner. And, by letting off steam you have a chance to discuss your feelings clearly and honestly.
- Time to Relax: For couples with kids it's important that you share raising them fairly. Take turns preparing meals, running them around and picking up after them. This allows the other partner to have some down time. Make a schedule that blocks time for both the daily chores and free time. Taking time to relax will help you be more up for positive interaction with your kids, and each other.
- Silent Connection: Spend a minute each day facing each other and pressing your hands up against your partner's. Look into each other's eyes. Then tell him or her something you like about about him or her. Nonverbal intimacy, even for a short time, can short-circuit the day's frustration and put you in a positive mental state. The verbal reinforcement helps insure you are connecting on all levels.
- Active listening: This exercise can help you and your partner understand and learn what the other is feeling so that you have a chance to start solving issues in your relationship. Find a quiet private place in your home. Take turns telling each other what you want to say. When one of you has spoken the other partner must repeat back what was said, NOT what they think they heard. Repeat your partner's sentiments until you get it right. This will save misunderstanding, confusion and lots of yelling!