7 Ways to Be a Better Partner

You’ve heard the sayings: relationships aren’t easy and marriage is a work in progress. Many are quick to warn about the trials a romance can face once the honeymoon phase comes to an end. But with a little mindfulness, couples can use these tiny (scientifically proven) tricks to maintain—and even enhance—their bond.

    1) Be Understanding and Compassionate:

    Long day at the office? It’s not quite good enough to simply be your partner’s sounding board. Because feeling understood, validated, and cared for by someone else is thought to improve relationships and well-being, those who care that their partner is stressed provide more support.

    2) Talk about money–often:

    As anybody who has ever argued over the grocery bill knows, money is the number one cause of stress in relationships. The best way to nip this in the bud? Set up monthly (or, heck, weekly) check-ins to talk about all aspects of your finances. This will keep resentment at bay, and help you guys get closer to your goals.

    3) Understanding Must Precede Advice:

    Especially when it comes to perpetual issues, it’s critical to understand that “solving” is a bad strategy. Empathy and understanding is always the first step to resolution. Get good at saying, “I can appreciate how you’d feel that way because…”. Start by trying to understand. Check if you got it right. Then try to understand some more. Understanding leads to safety. When you and your partner both feel safe enough to discuss your differing views on an issue, it opens up the door to creative problem solving together.

    4) Step Away From the Smartphone:

    Why? Phubbing (partner phone snubbing), a term used to describe distraction (keeping his/her cell phone within eyesight or in hand, glancing at his/her cell phone when carrying on a conversation, and checking notifications during a lull in the conversation) caused by phone while in the company of a romantic partner, can have negative implications on a relationship. Only 32 percent of respondents who were on the receiving end of phubbing behaviors said they were very satisfied with their relationship.

    5) Plan a Date Night:

    This is classic advice—but for good reason. Husbands and wives were 3.5 and 3.6 times more likely, respectively, to report being “very happy” in their marriage when they spent “couple time,” like date night, according to a survey from the National Marriage Project.

    6) Say Thank You—Often:

    When your partner makes a grand gesture, gratitude is obviously in order. But what about the more mundane, like washing the dishes or paying the bills? Giving thanks is a key ingredient to improving marriage.

    7) Buy Into Romantic Notions:

    Go ahead and take a page out of your favorite romantic comedy. Couples who believe in love at first sight, soul mates, and the idea that love never fades were more likely to report greater relationship satisfaction and commitment, according to a recent study.

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