Thursday, November 19, 2009

4 Ways to Create the Relationship You Want

Get to know your spouse better by switching roles for a day. Your relationship will improve If you build a healthy love relationship from the very start, you're less likely to run into roadblocks later on.

Here's expert advice for "starting as you mean to go'and if you're already in dire straights, stick around! You can rebuild a rocky relationship.

1. Talk Turkey
"When my husband and I had friends over for our first Thanksgiving, I thought he would carve the turkey at the table like my dad did, says marriage therapist Vee Alexander. "And, he expected me to slice it up in the kitchen like his mom did! To start strong, Alexander recommends discussing each other's family traditions and deciding which ones you'll adopt.

2. Explain Why
"When you make your first major decisions together, share why you want what you want, says psychologist and decision coach Jennifer Halpern. "Don't just declare a position. For example, she recommends saying, "I love swimming, sunshine, and sand, so I'd prefer the Bahamas, instead of "Our honeymoon has to be on a beach! Explaining why creates a healthy decision-making pattern by revealing your needs and preferences'and this not only makes communication smoother but increases your understanding of each other, says Halpern.

3. Avoid Family Feuds
Right from the beginning, be open about how often you'll see your families. "New couples often don't want to pick on their in-laws, but it's important to be honest about the amount of time you want to spend together, says relationship expert Doree Lewak. She recommends discussing the frequency and length of your relatives' visits upfront.

4. Embrace Your Differences
"Your spouse's endearing quirks will become irritating if you don't accept'and maybe even forgive' them, says Alexander. "To build a strong marriage, welcome the fact that your partner sees things differently, reacts differently, and has different thoughts and feelings than you.

3 Tips for Rebuilding Rocky Relationships

Notice what works: "Recall when you've successfully changed things with your partner in the past, says relationship coach Paulette Sherman, author of Dating From the Inside Out. "Did your mate respond when you spoke calmly, made a direct request, or offered a big hug? To stabilize a rocky relationship, Sherman suggests focusing on the communication style that works best for your partner.

Switch roles: If you're struggling with how each other makes decisions, Halpern suggests switching styles for a day. "For example, visit the grocery store together and deliberately make choices the way the other usually does, she says. "Not only will you likely start laughing, you'll also learn how each other thinks. Even if your decision-making styles don't change, your acceptance of each other may increase.

Restructure if necessary: "Neither of you are exactly the same person as when you married – and you need to accept that, says Sheryl Kurland, author of Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More. "Experiences and events have changed you both. Your marriage, like a faltering business, has to be restructured to meet each other's needs today. Kurland advises against trying to recapture what once was. Instead, focus on what is.

1 comment:

Sheryl Kurland, Author said...

Thanks for including me in your blog--last paragraph. For any readers interested in my book "Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More," visit
Sheryl Kurland, Author