4 Things To Try Before Giving Up On Your Relationship:
- Stop criticizing your partner. According to Dr. John Gottman, talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, a complaint is: “I’m upset because you didn’t tell me about the phone call from your ex. We agreed to be open with each other.” Versus a criticism: “You never tell me the truth. How can I trust you?”
- Practice resolving conflicts as they arise. Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy your relationship. Experiencing conflict is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships. Take responsibility for your part in a dispute. Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling your eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm, etc.).
- Boost up physical affection and sex. According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. Studies show that it’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Nurture fondness and admiration for your partner: Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with their flaws – and express your positive feelings out loud several times each day. Search for common ground rather than insisting on getting your way when you have a disagreement. Listen to their point of view and avoid stonewalling – shutting yourself off from communication.
The best way to create a relationship built on love, trust, and intimacy is to take responsibility for your own actions and to practice acceptance and compassion for your partner. The truth is that all couples have problems, even the ones who seem like a perfect match. The thing to keep in mind is that realistic expectations and damage control can keep resentment from building and causing serious relationship problems.