10 ways to maintain a balanced relationship
by Katarina Kovacevic
Being in a relationship can sometimes feel like more work than play and there may be days when the bad seems to outweigh the good. But the most important element in a successful relationship is learning how to work through the tough spots. Arguments are inevitable but just because you and your significant other disagree doesn't mean you're doomed for splitsville. We connected with several relationship experts to get their thoughts on what truly makes a healthy relationship.
Dr. Karen Sherman is a relationship psychologist specializing in premarital, on-going and married relationships and she's got this advice to offer couples:
- "Make sure you know the skills to have a healthy conflict," she said. "When a couple is able to do this, they can actually have a more intimate relationship." So an argument from time to time can actually be good for a couple. Just don't hit below the belt!
- "Never humiliate your partner publicly or throw something back in his or her face that has been offered to you as something private. These can be more a breach to your relationship than an actual affair." Lesson: what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. Learn how to keep some elements of your relationship private.
- "Do not expect your mate to fulfill all of your needs and take time to understand how your partner's needs are met through words and actions." The "you complete me" scene in Jerry Maguire may have had you sobbing like a sucker but learn how to take care of your own needs and nurture your partners – but don't live for them.
Best-selling author Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil was named by New York Magazine as one of the city's top therapists. She prides herself on saving couples from all types of relationship peril, even adultery, and has a 98 percent success rate for saving relationships. Her tips include:
- "Give verbal aphrodisiacs daily to your partner," she said. "Tell them they look good, that you loved the dinner they cooked." Who knew foreplay and wordplay went together so well?
- "Try to go to bed at the same time every night," she said. "Even if one of you has to get up later for work."
- Ladies and gentlemen, it should come as no surprise. Sex is just as important as communication. Thank you, Dr Weil! "Make sex a priority," she said. "Schedule it in. Take turns developing a sexual adventure for your partner. Use sex as a stress buster!"
Susan Barnes is a relationship expert who has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across the country including Everyday with Rachael Ray and Playboy radio. She specializes in teaching people the art of spiritual romance. She's got this to offer couples"
- "Put your partner first," said Barnes. "Put yourself in their shoes and try to think what it's like to be them before making any judgments. Most importantly, trust them." So, the next time you want to go out and party with the girls instead of following through with your set dinner plans, try to think how you'd feel if the tables were turned.
- According to Barnes, the language of love comes in many different forms. "There is a fine line between being honest and being cruel. Be honest with kindness and use soft language, don't be brutal." So the next time you're ready to explode, take a step back and reconsider your approach. "And every night before you go to bed, tell your partner seven things that you are grateful for in your relationship."
- "Become unbeatable together. Stay strong together under any circumstance and be each other's rock. You are each other's best friend, lover and confidant. Be loyal to one another and don't let anyone talk bad about your partner."
- We've always heard it's important to pick your battles and Barnes definitely agrees. "Stop criticizing and complaining to your partner. If you have complaints try writing them down in a notebook and read them later. You'll be surprised how petty they really are.