Happy couples How to keep your relationship healthy

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There are steps you can take to keep your relationship healthy and in good working order.

Romantic relationships are important for our happiness and well-being but can also take work to maintain. There are steps you can take to keep your relationship healthy and in good working order.

Talking openly
Communication is a key piece of a healthy relationship. Healthy couples make time to check in with one another on a regular basis. It’s important to talk about more than just parenting and maintaining the household. Try to spend a few minutes each day discussing deeper or more personal subjects to stay connected to your partner over the long term.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid bringing up difficult subjects. Keeping concerns or problems to yourself can breed resentment. When discussing tough topics, though, it pays to be kind. Research shows that the way you communicate with your partner is important and the negative communication patters can have a negative effect on the relationship.

Disagreements are part of any partnership, but some fighting styles are particularly damaging. Couples that use destructive behavior during arguments — such as yelling, resorting to personal criticisms or withdrawing from the discussion — are more likely to break up than are couples that fight constructively. Using constructive strategies like listening to your partner’s point of view and understanding their feelings is a healthier away to deal with disagreements.

Keeping it interesting
Between kids, careers and outside commitments, it can be difficult to stay connected to your partner or be intimate.

To keep things interesting, some couples plan regular date nights. Even dates can get old, though, if you’re always renting a movie or going to the same restaurant. Experts recommend breaking out of the routine and trying new things — whether that’s going dancing, taking a class together or packing an afternoon picnic.

When should couples seek help?
Every relationship has ups and downs, but some factors are more likely than others to create bumps in a relationship. Finances and parenting decisions often create recurring conflicts, for example. One sign of a problem is having repeated versions of the same fight over and over. In such cases, psychologists can help couples improve communication and find healthy ways to move beyond the conflict.

You don’t have to wait until a relationship shows signs of trouble before working to strengthen your union. Marital education programs that teach skills such as good communication, effective listening and dealing with conflict have been shown to reduce the risk of divorc

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