How can I improve a relationship?

Kathy Sowder
There are many little things that can be done to improve a relationship that really add up over time. Some of these are daily expressions of love, affectionate touches, and verbal expressions of affection and gratitude. Another is to express interest in the other person`s job, family and activities. True listening is one of the best gifts you can give. Bringing fun and humor into situations can help improve a relationship. Bringing variety in the form of new activities, taking a class together and establishing a date night where each person alternates the plan for the evening are good ideas. One of the best ways to know how to improve your relationship is to ask your partner what you can do better, and take notes without getting defensive.
Brenda K. Wade, PhD
Keep learning and growing -- when we chose to learn better we do better. Please remember that learning to love yourself takes work, time, energy, money and risking what others think of you. I’m not saying you should stay in a relationship that is dangerous or physically abusive. But there is value in identifying the problems and working through them. It’s not your job to change your partner, so what if your partner isn’t willing to do the work? Here’s something amazing I’ve learned after 25 years of working with thousands of people from every -- and I do mean every -- walk of life. Seven out of ten times, when you change and stick to your new thoughts feelings and actions, it changes the relationship and your partner too!
Sheri Van Dijk
Here are 10 tips for improving relationships:
  1. Remember that one of the primary goals most of us have in life is to have other people care about us; needing other people in our lives is part of what makes us human. When you're putting yourself out there and meeting new people, it can help if you remember that the people you're meeting are probably nervous too.
  2. While it's important to work out the big problems in your relationships when they arise, it's even more important to take good care of your relationships on an ongoing basis (like regular maintenance on your car) to prevent the relationship from ending.
  3. Not all relationships are salvageable. Take an inventory of the relationships you have in your life and think about how healthy they are. Sometimes we need to end unhealthy relationships when our attempts at making them more positive aren't successful.
  4. Even when you're being assertive, it's important to remember that there are no guarantees that you'll get what you want; acting skillfully will only make it more likely that you'll achieve your goals.
  5. Everyone has the right to say no to unwanted requests, and you don't even have to give a reason!
  6. Being assertive is very different from being aggressive. If you're used to being more passive, you may feel like you're being aggressive when you start practicing assertiveness, but remember, being assertive is about treating both yourself and the other person with respect.
  7. We all learn our communication styles from somewhere, so don't judge yourself if you're an aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive person. Simply accept it, and work on making some healthy changes in the way you interact with others.
  8. The relationships we have in our lives influence how we feel; it's important to work toward having positive, healthy people around us on a regular basis.
  9. Work toward having a balance in your relationships so that sometimes you're putting your own needs first. This isn't selfish; it's self-care and will benefit the relationship in the long run.
  10. Being mindful when communicating with others will benefit your relationships. People notice when you're present and really engaged in your interactions with them.
Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life

More About this Book

Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life

When you have difficulties managing your emotions, it can feel like you’re losing control of your whole life. Anger, hurt, grief, worry, and other intense feelings can be overwhelming, and how you...

Because relationship problems are complex in nature, their solutions must also be more than material. That is why Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, combines several therapies as the solution: sadhana (meditation), aromas, music, massage, herbal treatment, proper diet, exercise, and detoxification. Together, these healing therapies provide the balm that heals consciousness and makes a person feel whole again.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians says Ayurveda always approaches a problem at the root level. And at the root of all relationships is the human heart. To the Ayurvedic physician, the heart is not simply a pump. It is also the seat of emotions. It is endowed with immense potential to love, feel, and give. It contains the essence of the cosmos within itself, just like a seed contains the whole tree. No wonder, then, that when you subject this sensitive, emotional heart to the stress-laden travails of daily living, it sometimes quails and shrinks within itself. This is an effect of pragya aparadh or “mistake of the intellect,” when the intellect, drawn toward and influenced by material consciousness, loses connection with the wholeness of consciousness. This is when we stop being centered within ourselves.

The way to make this mistake right is to allow the heart to expand. To listen to its quiet voice, and to follow what it is telling us. When we start doing this, slowly, the pragya aparadh will be corrected. The seeds of doubt, despair, and disappointment will shrivel up and die. We will be whole again--in ourselves and in our relationships with others.

Lisa Oz
Health Education

Well, I do not think a long, in-depth self-therapy session is practical with every interaction, but there are a few key insights that are broadly applicable. To start is the idea of genuine presence. One of my favorite quotes is, "Wherever you go, there you are" from the movie Buckaroo Banzai. It has that delicious quality of being totally silly and shockingly profound at the same time. Realizing this fact, and living it, is probably the most important thing we can do to improve our relationships. Far too often, although we are physically with a person, our mind is somewhere else. Whether we are on the phone, listening to the radio, watching TV, or just caught up in our own thoughts, when we are not present in the moment - with the people next to us - we cheat ourselves and them of an pportunity to make a real connection.

Another important lesson is the necessity of practicing self-awareness, especially during conflict. The next time you find yourself in an argument, ask yourself what you really want and how your behavior is helping to meet those needs. The answer might not come to you during the heat of passion, but at some point, before you make yourself and someone else miserable, take a moment to create a safe place where you can be really honest with yourself. Once you have a clue about why you are choosing certain actions, see what changes you can implement to achieve your goals, regardless of what the other person is doing. Remember, it is all really about you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.