Improve Your Relationship in 5 Simple Steps
1. Empathic Listening
To improve your relationship, listening isn't enough. You need to listen without judgment until your partner actually wants your input. Instead of trying to present a solution or criticizing your partner, try to ascertain more information. When your partner is talking about a difficult experience, show that you're listening to the emotion your partner is conveying by saying something like, "That must have been really tough." Only give your opinion or advice when you're asked.
As a society, we've become really negative and discouraging. If your partner comes up with an idea (even if you think it is very dumb), try to be encouraging and positive. Use the old improv trip of "Yes...and," by trying to build on the idea instead of breaking it down. After all, your partner didn't come to you so you could rain on his or her parade.
3. Control Your Emotions
Spontaneous fires are rare. More often than not, they are the result of human or mechanical error. To improve your relationship, you should learn to control your emotions. Don't tell yourself that "being angry is just who I am," because that's a load of crap. If you practice employing logic instead of emotion during tense situations, you will be able to react less emotionally to typical "fighting words." It will take time and effort but isn't your partner worth it? Start practicing this by waiting at least five seconds and taking a deep breath before responding to situations that would usually set you off. Further employing this strategy by remembering to love your partner actively even during a disagreement can help as well.
4. Talk About the Good
Bad things happen in relationships both large and small. Rehashing them over and over again is a one-way ticket to Splitsville. Forgive, forget and talk about the positive things you and your partner have going. Don't talk about what keeps you from being a "10," instead, talk about what keeps you from being a "1." By asserting these positive traits and events, more will surface and additional happiness will ensue.
5. Giving Gratitude
Once a week, in an effort to improve your relationship, create a list together of the things you are most grateful for. It may seem silly at first, but it will help you to appreciate your lives (both individually and together) much more than you did without the list. If you master doing it once a week, try doing it every day.