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Relationships and Marriage Tips

Read these 12 Relationships and Marriage Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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"Win" with Compassion

When someone does something we do not like, we tend to focus on what they did wrong. We judge. We criticize. We point out what we deem to be their faults. The person in turn feels hurt or angry. Conflict or distance occur. This is not helpful to anyone. There is no need to assign blame or prove who did what. Disengage from this lose – lose pattern! Instead, focus on the other person's experience, empathize, look for how to help. Someone can not remain angry, hurt, or keep arguing when your response is one of compassion.


Reacting, bad. Responding, good.

Emotions are just emotions. They are not right or wrong, good or bad. However, when you operate from a place where you allow your emotions to propel reactions, problems result. Allow yourself to have whatever emotions you have. Acknowledge them as how you feel. Then, decide how you want to respond. Reactions are derived from emotions alone; responses have the advantage of consulting with your brain before taking action.


Take a Leap of Faith

Most people do not intentionally harm those they love. The majority of things that trigger feelings of hurt, in close relationships, are never meant to have that outcome. No matter how upset you are, make a leap of faith that the other person loves you and wants you happy. When you attribute the problem to miscommunication vs. he/she doesn't care, it diffuses some of the emotional charge. This offers more clarity to your perspective.

How do I get closer to my spouse?

Play Together and Stay Together

Life gets tricky doesn't it? And the very person whom you love the most can actually drift away if you don't pause and take"fun" time together. A lot of couples come together to discuss money, holidays (the in-laws and the ex-laws), kids and the every busy calendar. Discussing these things can be stressful and usually doesn't build up your relationship. Instead, you gotta play together.
Get a board game, pick up a tennis racket, sign up for a fun run, go skiing, go shopping, but do something you both like together. Playing together lets you laugh, relax, and simply have fun together. It will bond you and remind you of why you love your one and only so very much.
Couples that daily take time to be together in an enjoyable and relaxing setting grow closer to each other. This bonding is priceless and can make the journey of life and your relationship a lot more fulfilling. Couples that play together can make it through the hard times much easier because they have their best friend right by them. Build up your relationship and spend time having fun together.

We never see each other any more! What can we do?

Is Your Spouse Lonely?

How much time do you spend talking with your spouse each week? Couples therapists say it's important to have time together to connect, and to have conversations that aren't about kids or household chores.
Schedule a "date night," even if it's just a little down time in the living room after the kids are in bed. Write your date nights on your calendars and stick to the date night plans.
If your relationship is troubled, don't spend date nights trying to solve your problems. Instead, build up a fund of positive experiences by finding things to do that you both enjoy. Schedule separate time for relationship talks and therapy. Everyone needs to relax, and your spouse deserves your full attention.


Ghosts of the Past

Sometimes, the problems in a marriage are problems that started before you even met your partner. These "ghosts" can cause miscommunications, anxieties, and problems with money, power, and sex.
A wife who was raped in the past may have trouble experiencing her partner's gentle sexual advances as expressions of love. A husband who had trouble with a previous cheating spouse may be hypervigilant in his current marriage, looking for signs of infidelity where they don't exist.
Sometimes, just talking about the "ghosts," asking questions like "What has happened like this in the past?", is enough to lay them to rest. If the ghosts are persisten and troubling enough, couples therapy may be needed to help you both understand their power and separate the past from the present.

We're so busy, it feels like we're ships passing in the night. How can we reconnect?

Separate Lives

The most important thing partners in a marriage can do to prevent a cheating partner is to make sure your lives include time together, and to make that time a priority.
Sometimes, work and family demands are urgent enough that they take over. The important thing is to remember that this is a crisis mode, and not to let it become your regular lifestyle. When you don't have time to make love, eat a meal together, or have a conversation during the week, it's time to make some changes.
When you do have time together, plan to spend it in ways that allow you to reconnect. Movies and TV aren't as good for this as exercising together or going out to eat -- something that lets you talk while you unwind. Even something as simple as grocery shopping can be a chance to catch up and keep a healthy relationship going.

What are some ways to prevent money problems in our marriage?

Money and Marriage

Money becomes a symbol for power in many marriages, and each partner brings expectations, fears, and hopes around money into the relationship when it begins. In addition, many cheating spouses are discovered not because of their extramarital sex, but because of their extramarital spending.
One important step is to give both partners information and access to money that belongs to them both. On a practical note, this can prevent problems if the partner who does most of the bookkeeping and bill-paying becomes ill or disabled. Within a relationship, it sends a message that both partners are adults who have responsibilities for managing their joint resources.
Another useful ground rule is a limit on big-ticket items. A good budget includes an amount of "mad money" -- even $25 per month, if that's what you can afford -- for each partner to spend without consulting the other. It also includes an agreement not to spend more than a certain amount without consulting one another, and a list of financial goals that both partners have set together.

What are some common stages of marriage?

Stages of a Marriage

Every marriage is different, but there are some predictable stages that most couples go through:

-- Romance: The first one to five years involve discovering one another and building a foundation of affection and passion. Besides enjoying yourselves, it's a good idea to realize that the rest of your marriage will be patterned on what happens now.

-- Coping: For some couples, reality sets in quickly with the birth of a first child. Other couples may go a few years before the romantic stage fades, often triggered by a major life event such as a job loss, a move, or a parent's death. The marriage tends to take a back seat to making a living, caring for a family, and other commitments.

-- Rediscovery: Sometimes it takes couples therapy and hard work to get to this stage. Other times it happens naturally, as the kids grow up and the jobs settle down and you both begin to plan the latter part of your lives. The work of this stage is to let go of old resentments and appreciate the person you married.

My partner has no interest in sex. What can I do?

When One Partner Loses Interest in Sex

Both men and women can suffer from medical problems and hormone imbalances that get in the way of physical desire. The first step in treating lack of sexual desire may be to visit your doctor.
Women in particular often suffer loss of libido for emotional as well as physical reasons. Relationship issues, past experiences of abuse, and societal expectations about women's sexuality may play into feelings of uninterest or inadequacy. Counseling is especially important in treating these issues and reaching a compromise with a more passionate partner.

Does a one-night stand mean I'm a bad husband/wife?

One-Night Stands

Sometimes, if the opportunity arises, a husband or wife who wouldn't contemplate a long-term affair may indulge in a one-night stand or brief fling.
While some moments of infidelity go unnoticed and unmentioned after the one time, it's still a bad idea to succumb to an opportunity to cheat. For one thing, "private" acts have a way of becoming known, particularly in small communities like a workplace. Also, a spouse who cheats once and gets away with it may find infidelity becoming a habit.

Can a marriage survive if one of the partners changes religions?

Religion and Marriage

Having a religion in common can help draw a couple together, so it's a destabilizing influence when one partner starts getting interested in another faith or loses interest in religion altogether. What's important is to respect one another's right to be spiritual individuals, and to reassure one another of your continuing love.
The ability to stay emotionally honest, to hear one another's truths even when they are uncomfortable, is important when spiritual differences start to crop up. Look for the common spiritual ground you share -- perhaps a love of nature, or a belief in helping people in need -- and make time to explore that ground together.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson