Tips to Save a Relationship

No relationship is perfect – we all know this.  But when we’re in the thick of it and fighting all the time, it’s difficult to see through this and find ways to make things work.  Here are a few simple tips to save a relationship that are often overlooked, but which can be very powerful.

1) Decide if it’s worth saving

It’s a really tough decision to make, but even if you’ve been married for half a century, there sometimes comes a time when you both know you should call it a day and move on. Before spending a great deal of energy on making a relationship work, decide if the payoff is really there – even if you solve your current problems, will you be happy living with your partner?

2) Identify the problem areas and stick to them

A simple way to do this is to split your relationship issues into emotional, intellectual, social and physical aspects, and decide which ones need the most attention.  Don’t allow discussions about certain aspects of your relationship spill over into others.  If you’re having an argument about your emotions, don’t let it become about sex – you’ll just make the other person feel like you’re bringing up anything you can to throw at them.  Deal with issues individually.

3) Seek help

Nobody likes the idea of a relationship councillor, but sometimes it can be just the thing you need to throw some perspective on the situation, and help you to find a way to move forward and work out your differences.  Your friends do not count – they have their own hang ups and preconceptions which are more likely to harm than to help.

4) Don’t say, ‘My friend said’.

Seeking advice from your friends is all well and good, but don’t then go and throw this in your partner’s face.  Use ‘I’ language, and don’t bring advice your friends have given you into the relationship – it’ll make the other person feel like you’re comparing them to others, or talking about them behind their backs.

5) Communicate, communicate, communicate

Sometimes one partner’s (or both partners’) ability to communicate is a problem in itself. Ever brought up a sensitive topic only to have the other person clam up tight and go all cold and uncommunicative? That is a problem that needs to be solved and worked through very slowly and carefully, before any other progress can be made.

This is especially difficult, and may need professional assistance on its own in order to resolve it. But the bottom line is that if you and your partner are not comfortable talking about sensitive issues, or you start shouting at each other whenever you have a difference of opinion, these are things that need to be worked out before anything constructive can happen.