4 Ways Family And Friends Help Our Relationships

Love, Heartbreak

Who's in your village, and are you making the most of what they have to offer you?

As we've said before: it doesn't just take a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to raise a couple. Our relationships don't exist in vacuums, they can be strengthened or challenged based on the friends, family and advisers we keep.

Who's in your village? Are you making the most of what they have to offer? Or are you forgetting one of the best resources your relationship has? Below, some tips on how to help your village help you.

1. Have separate friends. Sometimes, when you're in love (or suffering from the effects of inertia), it's easy to forget that anyone other than your partner exists. But, even if you don't really want to, force yourself to spend time with other people who love you and want the best for you — partly because it will make you happier and more interesting and more well-rounded in the long run, and partly because you and everyone else eventually needs to bounce relationship issues off of someone who's not in the relationship. 5 Ways To Keep Friends After You Couple Up

2. Spend time with your friends and family as a couple. Allow your loved ones to get to know who you're with and why. Let them see the ways that you're similar and different. Give them reasons to root for your successes and insights into the ways that you struggle. Friends and family who understand you as a couple will help you through the rough patches, soothe you through the frustrations, and celebrate with you every time you hit a milestone.

3. Make sure that your friends include other couples. You don't need a lot of them. And you don't need to go out on double or triple dates every night of the week (that's annoying). But having a few other couples in your life who face the same challenges and joys as you and your partner will help you to stay grounded about everything from sex ("we don't have it as much as we used to, either, no big deal") to sparring ("doesn't everyone fight over how the toilet paper roll is supposed to go?"). Fighting Fair I: Civil Dialogue

4. Know the loyalties of those in your village. Your mother-in-law may love you to death, but, more than likely, she loves her son more. If you need to vent about something your partner is doing, don't go to her. In the same vein, do not complain about your partner to your father when you can just as easily complain about him to your best friend. Your father will more than likely hold onto the negative things you say about your man well after the issue is smoothed over. How To Ease Mother-In-Law Conflict