Friday, November 21, 2014

8 Ideas for Improving Your Relationship

Peachy Keen Blog: 8 Ideas to Improve Your Relationship or Marriage

    I've had the good fortune of working with some incredible couples over the past few months while teaching relationship improvement courses as a part of my senior capstone. As teaching goes, you come out having learned or remembered lots and lots of things, maybe more than you taught. I adore  the new perspectives and opinions that every student in these classes has to offer.

So, today I wanted to share a few things that have benefited my own marriage and the relationships of the awesome couples I've been in cahoots with during these classes. What would be on your list of lessons you've learned to keep your relationships in tip-top shape?

1. Learn to Regulate Yourself

Instead of focusing on how you can change the habits and attributes of your partner, self-regulation involves paying attention to your own behavior. What can you personally work on to improve the relationship? Often, a change in your own actions initiates a change in your loved one and the relationship you share.

2. Understand How the Outside World Affects You

Many people tend to blame either themselves or their significant others when experiencing life's rough patches. However, recognizing how the outside world affects your relationship can change your perspective. Life events happen without our consent on a daily basis. Realize that a bad day at work, a disagreement with a family member, or a horrible commute can easily transfer over to your relationship. The solution? Share with your partner. Not only will sharing the event relieve stress, but it will also allow he or she to understand your behavior. 

3. The Past is Part of the Present

My childhood home epitomized frugality. Shopping revolved around sales, coupons, and price-matching. On the other hand, my husband grew up knowing he was allowed to put anything in the shopping cart with the contingency that he would help his mother carry in the groceries from the car. Long story short: when we got married, we had to hammer out how shopping would work for our family. 

Understand how your partner's past influences how they act. What was his or her parents' relationship like? How did finances work in the home? What value was placed on education, work ethic, or family vacations?

4. Appropriately Use Social Media

Ah, social media. It can create a community of strong support and love to bolster your relationship. But, used incorrectly, it can transform into a world of bad advice, tension, or secrecy. Have an open discussion with your partner about social media use if a problem may exist.

5. Resolve Conflict in a Healthy Way

There are entire volumes dedicated to resolving conflict in a healthy, constructive manner. Here is a summary of my advice: raised voices, name-calling, and placing blame are all counter-productive. Be calm. Be willing to compromise. Turn off the cell phones and the televisions and schedule specific time in your calendar to discuss issues. When things get heated, take a time out and revisit the problem later (the recommended time is under 24 hours!).

6. Forgive

Relationships depend on forgiveness. People make mistakes--dozens of them--every single day that need to be forgiven. Learning to forgive allows you to replace hurt feelings with altruism. Don't waste your energy on being offended, angry, or vengeful. Instead, use that powerful energy to improve your ability to efficiently problem-solve as a team. 

7. Work Hard. Then Work Harder.

The average relationship decreases in satisfaction overtime as couples settle into daily routines. Work is essential.Take an interest in each other's activities, actively listen to your partner, and make the effort to continually learn about one another. Grow together.

8. Lower Your Expectations

It would be ridiculous to say to expect nothing of your partner. However, make sure your expectations are realistic and obtainable for your current life situation. If you have too high of a standard, your partner will always fall short. 


  1. i agree, the appropriate use of social media is so important! you girls nailed it :)

    xoxo, kiely