Do you worry that your relationship will lose its appeal? If so, you are not alone. As the excitement of a new relationship wears off, the partnership can either continue to be good or it can become boring or unhealthy. Other than compatibility, there are many factors that can contribute to this. While there is no way to completely ensure that your relationship will stand the test of time, there are some basic strategies that can help it remain satisfying.
Having an effective communication pattern is a necessity for all relationships and can contribute to problem-solving, conflict resolution and the overall quality of everyday conversations. A 2008 study published in the "Journal of Personality and Individual Differences" found that couples who did not avoid discussing their problems rated higher levels of satisfaction with their relationship. Effective tips for communication include talking openly and frequently, engaging in active listening, being attentive to body language and other non-verbal cues, avoiding anger and showing respect and consideration for your partner.
Consideration and affection are also important for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Making an effort to know and support your partner's wants and needs makes for a strong connection, says psychotherapist Michael Formica in the "Psychology Today" article "Ten Elements of Effective Relationships." Showing affection to your partner can also help keep a relationship satisfying. How you respond to your partner is important, as it conveys understanding, validation and caring; it has also been linked to relationship satisfaction, as is reported in the article "Creating Good Relationships: Responsiveness, Relationships Quality, and Interpersonal Goals," published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."
Busy schedules can contribute to the deterioration of your relationship, so it is important for you and your partner to spend time together. This can be done with spontaneity or by planning specific times to stop and appreciate each other and the relationship. According to the American Psychological Association, having date nights set aside is a good idea, but it is also good to do things outside of your normal routine. This can help you and your partner stay connected and can help keep the relationship interesting.
Though it may not be for every couple, there is always the option of seeking professional help for relationship issues. Therapy focusing on modifying problem behaviors and increasing acceptance, for example, was found to increase marital satisfaction for both husbands and wives, says a 2005 study reported in the "Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology." Other targets of effective therapy include changing the views of the relationship, decreasing emotional avoidance, improving communication and promoting strengths, says Susan Whitbourne, Ph.D., in the "Psychology Today" article "5 Principles of Effective Couples Therapy."
- Journal of Personality and Individual Differences: Trait Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Communication Patterns and Relationship Satisfaction
- The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues: Connecting As A Couple
- Psychology Today: Ten Elements of Effective Relationships
- National Institutes of Health: Creating Good Relationships
- American Psychological Association: Happy Couples
- Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology: Improving Relationships
- Psychology Today: 5 Principles of Effective Couples Therapy
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