Stop nagging and start listening ... pronto!
Out with the old, in with the new ... that's what the new year is all about, right? So, once you've purged your toxic relationship habits in 2012, it's time to embrace some new, healthy ones in 2013. Here are several, expert-endorsed, healthy habits to embrace in 2013:
1. Practice transparency. In general, men could disclose more and women could be more direct. Doing so may feel uncomfortable but can foster intimacy and contentment. Expecting your partner to read your mind is like regressing to infancy when you cried and it was your mother's job to figure out what you needed. Start 2013 by saying what you are feeling and asking for what you want. —Dr. Dan Neuharth
2. You know what not to do. When I ask couples in counseling how they could create a really bad evening together, they generally have no trouble describing exactly what would alienate, anger and disappoint each other. Ask yourself the same question. Now that you have a roadmap to destruction, you know what not to do. A great way to improve your relationship in the new year is this: Each day, do the opposite of at least one of those relationship-killing behaviors you identified. —Dr. Dan Neuharth
3. Decode complaints. Nagging is a shabbily-dressed wish. If you're about to complain, stop and identify the desire underneath. Instead of saying "we never hug anymore," ask for a hug or offer one. It may feel risky but voicing a desire is more likely to draw your partner closer than complaining. By the same token, if your partner complains, rather than ignoring or disputing it, listen for the longing underneath. Greet "How come I always clean up after dinner?" with the magic words, "You're right." Then hand him the TV remote or draw her a bath and, while he or she relaxes, tidy up. You will make more than the kitchen sparkle. —Dr. Dan Neuharth
4. Give a daily dose of goodness. When we first fall in love, we tend to shower our partners with compliments. In time, these can slow to a trickle. Whether it is kind words, a loving touch or a warm look, make it a priority in 2013 to catch your honey doing something right. Love thrives on spontaneity, not expectation. When you are fully present, a single kiss can be a feast. —Dr. Dan Neuharth
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