"7 Tips for Improving Your Relationships"

In today's high-stress world of two income households, child care, caring for an aging parent, illness, or a host of other challenges, it's important to put your self-interest aside to make sure your relationship stays strong. A little attentiveness goes a long way in maintaining a healthy relationship.

Below are seven tips that can help to keep your relationship strong:

1. Find out what the other person likes and do more of it.  Many times common interests are what attracted you to each other in the first place. But it's probably that you have separate interests also. Your partner may love art shows but you don't. Attending a gallery with her shows you care about her interests and are willing to take part in them.

 2. Focus on the person’s strengths and express your fondness and gratitude. Every human has the need to be appreciated. The more you can provide genuine compliments and gratitude to your mate, the more endeared he will be toward you.

 3. During a conflict stay connected. It's easy to simply go into another room, pout or leave the house after an argument. It's important to always keep the lines of communication open for dialogue to resolve the issue. It may take some time, but it's worth it.

 4. Don’t turn away from or isolate yourself for more than a short amount of time. Sometimes you both need a "cooling off" period and need some alone time away from each other. Just make sure it's not too long. (Refer to #3)

 5. Pick your battles. Not all differences or problems can be solved and sometimes you just need to agree to disagree.  You don't need to be aligned on every issue or topic. Just always be respectful toward your mate regardless of how you feel about the topic.

 6. Let your partner influence you. You don’t have to be in control all the time. It may not be easy to put your ego aside, but it's a lot easier than constantly feeling you have to be right or have the "upper hand" in the relationship.

 7. Get help when you cannot do it yourselves. It is a good idea to get help when you first recognize a significant problem that is not resolvable rather than letting issues build up with time.  Sometimes individual or couples counseling is a great idea to have a trained therapist mediate issues that seem intractable.

Relationships are not always easy but they can be improved simply by turning your focus on your partners needs above your own. This simple thing works wonders in maintaining loving and healthy relationships that can last for decades.