An apple a day keeps the breakup away.
Relationships, as anyone who's ever been in one knows, can be trying. The movies, romance novels, and Claire and Heathcliff Huxtable may make them look easy, but they aren't. Loving, living and lusting after one person for seventy or eighty years are not easy feats. That's why sometimes it's important to learn how to fix a relationship before it's in need of fixing.
Just like regular medical exams can help prevent a major health crisis, a relationship tune up can prevent you from wondering how to fix a relationship after it's too late for action. So, what exactly does a relationship check up entail? It can really entail anything you want (even taking the medical metaphor one step further and playing doctor). But, in general, a relationship check up should include the following three things.
- Spend time together: In the beginning of a relationship, things are new and exciting. This makes spending time together easy and effortless. As a relationship progresses, however, spending time together can be complicated. Once things like business travel, family obligations, and parent/teacher conferences are thrown in, spending time together may be something you actually have to plan. So, plan it. There’s no shame in this: everyone understands that life gets in the way. Still, beware of paving a road with good intentions and failing to travel upon it. In other words, don’t plan time together and let it fall by the wayside. Plan time together and – barring any unforeseen emergencies – be sure to follow through.
- Check In With Each Another: You check in with your doctor once a year even if you aren't having active symptoms or noticeable problems; do this with your partner as well. Sit down with one another every month or two and discuss any areas of concern. Do you feel as if your partner is not helping around the house as much as they used to? Bring it up. Are you annoyed with how many weekends they go out with their friends? Address it. Do you feel like they don't support you in your passions and interests? Say something. But before engaging in this check-in, it's good to have some ground rules that make sure things go civilly. Just like you wouldn't yell at your doctor when they tell you that your cholesterol is the highest they've ever seen, don't yell at your partner when they tell you things they'd like you to work on. Instead, be receptive; allow them to tell you about their concerns before those concerns go from a molehill to a mountain.
- Have sex: The lack of sex between married couples and those in long-term relationships may be a running punchline in every comedic routine ever, but often it’s quite true. In fact, one of the biggest reasons people even find themselves wondering how to fix a relationship is because of a lack of sex; it might be natural and fun but it’s also sometimes nonexistent. Sex is important (yes, even if you’re not a guy). Without it, partners run the risk of becoming little more than glorified roommates. The good news, however, lies in the solution: if you’re not having sex, start having it. Even if you begin by going through the motions, give it a shot. There’s a good chance that the whole faking it till you make it will indeed work (and soon you won’t be faking it much at all).