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How to improve your relationship

Provided by Gundersen's Employee Assistance Program

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The single biggest contributor to the breakdown in relationships today is the fact that couples don't spend enough time together. They don't make their relationship a priority. Everything else seems more important – careers, children, hobbies, and personal pursuits. Relationships can break down if they aren't nurtured.

Couples who don't prioritize their relationship often end up fighting during the little time they do have together. They argue about day-to-day issues: unpaid bills, unclean houses, and unruly children. But the truth is, arguing about who's doing what around the house is really just a symptom of a deeper problem – isolation, loneliness and resentment. You argue about the mundane issues when your emotional needs aren't being met.

Here are some suggestions on how to improve your relationship:

  1. Have a set time weekly to check in with your spouse or partner. Have a "relationship" meeting. Connect with each other about what is going well in the relationship and suggest what may improve your communication and connection.
  2. Limit criticism. Being critical of your spouse or partner is a quick way to lead to communication breakdown. Research shows that for every criticism we give someone, they need to hear at least five positives to work on an issue.
  3. Have set date nights during the month. Being creative and bringing fun into a relationship is critical. Each partner should plan a date at least once a month.
  4. Show affection. Greet your partner or spouse when returning home from work or being gone for the day. It is important to hug and show affection to those who mean the world to us.
  5. Remind your spouse or partner why you love them. Give them positive affirmations of what they do for you. Learn how to forgive each other and apologize when there are misunderstandings.
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