This is the biggie. If you can’t communicate, you’re in big time trouble. Does your partner sit with you flipping through text, email or Facebook on the old cellphone? Mine does. Drives me nuts. And do you really think that watching TV is actually being together? Well, if you are exhausted and just want to press up against each other, cuddle and watch something you both enjoy, then more power to you. But, if you have truly lost the inability to communicate, here’s what WebMD suggests.
- Make an actual appointment with each other. If you live together, put the cell phones on vibrate, put the kids to bed, and let voice mail pick up your calls.
- If you can't "communicate" without raising your voices, go to a public spot like the library, park, or restaurant where you'd be embarrassed if anyone saw you screaming.
- Set up some rules. Try not to interrupt until your partner is through speaking, or ban phrases such as "You always ..." or "You never ...."
- Use body language to show you're listening. Don’t doodle, look at your watch, or pick at your nails. Nod so the other person knows you're getting the message, and rephrase if you need to. For instance, say, "What I hear you saying is that you feel as though you have more chores at home, even though we're both working." If you're right, the other can confirm. If what the other person really meant was, "Hey, you're a slob and you create more work for me by having to pick up after you," he or she can say so, but in a nicer way.
My guy and I have been rich and we’ve been broke. Rich is better. Let’s face it, the economy since 2002 has been shaky. All of us have had it rough. It can cause stress and tension in both male and female. From my experience, it’s created a lot of stress. We’ve used or tried to deal with all of the strategies below.
- Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have gone south, continuing the same lifestyle is unrealistic.
- Don't approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both of you.
- Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender, understand there are benefits to both, and agree to learn from each other's tendencies.
- Don't hide income or debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table.
- Don't blame.
- Construct a joint budget that includes savings.
- Decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills.
- Allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.
- Decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It's OK to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.
- Talk about caring for your parents as they age and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs if needed.
3. Not Making Your Relationship a Priority
Honestly, I think a lot of us fall into this trap. It’s easy to do in a world where everyone has to work really hard just to make ends meet. But, it’s critical to try and keep the magic in your relationship.
- Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: Show appreciation, compliment each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other.
- Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life.
- Respect one another. Say "thank you," and "I appreciate..." It lets your partner know that he or she matters.
Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is one of our favorite movies. But, no one wants to live the same thing over and over again. Particularly where conflict is involved. When there is conflict, use the strategies below to resolve it.
- Realize you are not a victim. It is your choice whether you react and how you react.
- Be honest with yourself. When you're in the midst of an argument, are your comments geared toward resolving the conflict, or are you looking for payback? If your comments are blaming and hurtful, it's best to take a deep breath and change your strategy.
- Change it up. If you continue to respond in the way that's brought you pain and unhappiness in the past, you can't expect a different result this time. Just one little shift can make a big difference. If you usually jump right in to defend yourself before your partner is finished speaking, hold off for a few moments. You'll be surprised at how such a small shift in tempo can change the whole tone of an argument.
- Give a little; get a lot. Apologize when you're wrong. Sure it's tough, but just try it and watch something wonderful happen.
- Remember that you are the one responsible for your behavior.
This one is so much the key to everything else. Really. I was able to heal old wounds from another relationship because my husband created so much trust in our relationship. Pay careful attention to this.
You and your partner can develop trust in each other by following these tips.
- Be consistent.
- Be on time.
- Do what you say you will do.
- Don't lie -- not even little white lies to your partner or to others.
- Be fair, even in an argument.
- Be sensitive to the other's feelings. You can still disagree, but don't discount how your partner is feeling.
- Call when you say you will.
- Call to say you'll be home late.
- Carry your fair share of the workload.
- Don't overreact when things go wrong.
- Never say things you can't take back.
- Don't dig up old wounds.
- Respect your partner's boundaries.
- Don’t be jealous.
- Be a good listener.
Relationship by “mind-reading” doesn’t work. Always tell your partner specifically what you need.
Interject humor into your relationship. Don’t always take everything so seriously. Learn to relax with each other, joke with each other, and always be kind.
If you are willing to take a look at your relationship and what it needs on a periodic basis, it will remain healthy. Address the problems as they arise. Don’t sweep them under the rug. And, like I said in a previous article, don’t go to bed angry with each other! Always be prepared to take your fair share of a misunderstanding. Trust me, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Maintain that lawn, and it will always be beautiful.
Problem-solving strategies pulled from http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/7-relationship-problems-how-solve-them.