Happy couple on motorcycle

Whenever something is left unattended, it has a way of getting unhealthy: gardens, dishes, bills -- you name it! Relationships are no exception.

keep your love life from breaking down

Although a romantic relationship should never be a chore, it still needs its own attention to keep it healthy -- regular “tune-ups,” if you will. Here are my four keys that will keep your relationship from breaking down.

Planning

Don’t underestimate the value of looking at a calendar together. Are you stretching your energies too thin with social events or are you not making enough space in the workweek to play? Take half an hour a week to look at your commitments, decide your RSVPs, and plan when you’ll take downtime.

Teamwork

This is one of the best ways to build rapport as a duo. Whether it’s a dinner party you co-host or a fence you install in your yard together, do things as a team on a regular basis. Guys especially tend to bond over shared activities. Love and trust will flourish when you find ways to collaborate.

Encouragement

It isn’t always easy to remember to say thank you -- or to squeeze his hand, look him in the eye, and say how much his listening ear meant after your bad day at the office. But this builds affection and appreciation, and that stuff pulls you through the hard times. If my man is feeling loved and encouraged, virtually anything is possible for us. If he’s down in the dumps, it’s like telling a brick wall to dance.

How to motivate your man >>

Downtime

This one is important, so listen up! No matter how outgoing either of you might be, you need time that’s just for the two of you. If you both get too busy, a melt-down/fight is inevitable. You need regular time where you can recharge by relaxing with a book or a movie or puttering around the house doing a project. Agree to block out an evening or weekend slot for this, and make sure you can both agree on it so that one of you doesn’t schedule over it.

A nurtured love life runs like a well-oiled machine that’s prepared for the bumps in the road and the steep climbs uphill. What part of your relationship needs a tune-up?

More relationship tips

How to solve a communication crisis
3 Signs your relationship is on the right track
3 Reasons to take a relationship break this summer

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Comments

Comments on "4 Keys to healthy relationships"

Elise Stephens July 30, 2012 | 1:16 PM

Shannon, I love that you and your husband have a habit of talking together, regardless of whether there's an issue or not! That's an excellent rhythm.

Shannon July 22, 2012 | 10:30 AM

I think downtime is so important for a relationship. My husband and I have a routine of sitting on our porch every evening and talking, just the two of us. This allows us to bring up anything that bothered us or we need to address, but in a calm setting. We're both more able to listen to each other when it's just us with no distractions.

Elise Stephens July 19, 2012 | 8:51 PM

Emmma,I tend that way, too! Saying yes to too many things actually brought a lot of stress on my marriage, and I'm learning to say "no" to other things in order to say "yes" to me and him. Glad to know you've found planning together to be powerful!

Emma July 19, 2012 | 2:39 PM

I think that all of these tips are important for a healthy relationship. From my past experience, planning is a huge issue that I have in keeping a relationship strong. I tend to be the social calendar for the couple, and tend to say yes to everything! Don't let plans get in the way of quality couple time.

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