(Follow the preceding paragraph)
8. Get it on.
Unless you have committed to an asexual partnership, sex, sexual contact and touching (kissing, holding hands, cuddling etc.) are vital components of a romantic relationship. The frequency is of course, up to you and it's imperative that you discuss your ideas about it in order to prevent resentment. Rare are the moments when both partners are “in the mood” at the exact same second, but that doesn't mean that you have to decline their advances. Remind yourself that you will almost always “get there” after the first few minutes and that an intimate interaction of any kind builds connection and elevates your mood and health. Bear in mind that you are never required to say “yes.” If you truly don't feel it, the best thing you can do is to postpone. Just make sure that you initiate or accept within a reasonable amount of time thereafter.
9. Take a (mental) vacation, everyday.
Life and work distractions can become paramount in our minds and that leaves little time or energy for our partner. Practice the art of “Wearing the Relationship Hat.” This means that (barring any emergencies or deadlines), we are fully present when we're with our mate. We truly hear what they are saying (instead of pretending to listen), we leave our distractions behind and we don't pick them up again until the sun comes up and we walk out the door.
Some tips to improve communication
Sadly, we aren't born with the innate ability to effectively communicate but it doesn't mean that we can't learn. Use the following techniques to better navigate and limit the tension in your relationship:
10. Take "fight breaks" when you need them.
Before you've hit the point of no return and as you see the stress beginning to escalate, one or both of you can call a break so that cooler heads can prevail. The crux of this tool lies in the fact that you must pick a specific time to revisit the conversation (I.e. 10 minutes from now, 2:00pm on Tuesday etc.) so that closure can be achieved.
11. Dig deep to unearth your true feelings.
In most disagreements, we communicate from the “Top Layer,” which are the obvious emotions such as anger, annoyance and the like. Leading from this place can create confusion, defensiveness and ultimately distract from the real issue. Start communicating from the “Bottom Layer” (i.e. What feelings are really driving your reactions such as disappointment, rejection, loneliness, disrespect etc.).
This type of expression creates an instant sense of empathy because it requires honesty and vulnerability to share from this space. Tension will dissipate and from here, solutions can spring. Just be sure to use kind, non-reactive phrasing when expressing these bottom layer feelings, such as “I felt hurt by…” as a replacement for “You're such a jerk” etc.
12. Seek to understand ... not agree.
Easy in concept, difficult in application. Conversations quickly turn to arguments when we're invested in hearing our partner admit that we were right or when we are intent on changing his/her opinion. Choose to approach a conversation as an opportunity to understand your significant other's perspective as opposed to waiting for them to concede. From this perspective, we have an interesting dialogue and prevent a blow out or lingering frustration.
13. Make your apology count.
It's well understood that apologizing is a good thing but it only makes a real impact when you mean it. Saying things like “I'm sorry you feel that way” or “I'm sorry you see it that way” are a waste of time and breath. Even if you don't agree that your action was wrong, you will never successfully argue a feeling.
Accept that your mate feels hurt and from this place, a real apology can have a significant impact. When you love your partner and hurt them (intentionally or not) you can always legitimately apologize for the pain you caused regardless of your perspective on what you did or didn't do.
You are now, officially armed with the comprehensive exercise routine to fully reshape your relationship. Trim the fat and build your hottest relationship for life!