Couples That Stay Together Forever Make 11 Tiny Changes When Their Relationship Is In Trouble

smiling couple sits against kitchen counters drinking coffee

I speak from experience when I say that as long as love exists, there is a solution for every conceivable relationship problem — common, uncommon or convoluted. 

Being in a committed relationship is a daily choice: Every day, you and your partner choose to act in ways that either help or hinder your mutual progress. 

What I see happening often is that people continue to take the same actions in their relationship, making the same mistakes yet expecting different results. 

The most effective step that you can take to conquer the challenges in your relationship is to change your mindset: Choosing to see things from a different perspective can shift the energy of a situation entirely.

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Reducing discord in relationships starts by rearranging your thoughts. When you consciously control harmful thoughts and replace them with more positive ones, your relationship transforms. Concentrating on more elevated thoughts will lead you to speak and act differently, which will yield different results from your partner. 

Here are 11 changes you can make when your relationship is in trouble — or to prevent problems early

1. Communicate, don’t interrogate.

Most couples complain of communication issues. Lack of communication is a common problem in relationships because people tend to hold on to their egos and opinions a little too dearly. But it’s a roadblock that seriously impedes progress: if you’re not talking openly and sincerely, how can you know what your partner wants? How can you come up with solutions?

There are right and wrong ways to communicate. The wrong way is bombarding your partner with all of your problems as soon as he walks through the door after a long day at work.

The right way is waiting until he unwinds and then gently bringing up one subject of genuine concern (one subject, not twenty). Ask about his day before you begin. You might feel an urge to bring up everything at once when expressing how you feel, but it’s best to stick to one topic.

You will get to cover all the crucial points in time, so start with the most pertinent. Listen intently when he opens up to you. Don’t jump from subject to subject or concentrate on irrelevant matters that don’t pose serious problems.

If you communicate aggressively, your partner will respond in kind. He’s more likely to be receptive if you’re already engaged in a comfortable conversation. 

The timing of a conversation is as important as the topic.

Make sure his emotions are settled and steady before embarking on a subject you’re keen to discuss and make sure yours are too. You may want to get things off your chest right now, but you have to respect your partner’s time or the conversation won’t turn out the way you want. Know when to have serious talks and when to wait.

If your partner is in a compromised mood because he just got bad news, it’s better to wait a couple of hours or even a few days. However, if your partner is showing emotional vulnerability, seize the moment: capitalize on the times when he’s feeling sensitive, impartial, and loving.

These are your best moments to say what you need to say, as he will be most open-minded. 

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2. Make it an adventure, not a routine.

The daily grind becomes boring, to say the least. Doing the same things every day can quickly kill the spirit of any relationship, no matter how close the partners may be.

Break out of routine as often as you can. Travel with your partner, even if it’s a road trip or a weekend getaway. Try new restaurants and take up new hobbies. Even if it’s something out of your comfort zone, find joy in the fact that you’re engaging in different activities with your other half. 

This also holds true in the bedroom. Many men and women find that their sex drive dwindles after years of being with the same person; the “rush” that accompanies intercourse fades. While this is normal, it’s not a good indication.

Good sex is an integral part of any relationship.

If desire dries up, a central component of your connection is lost. Strive to maintain your sex appeal for your lover.

Eat well and exercise regularly. Such activities will not only help you look good for him, but they’ll also make you feel good about yourself and boost your self-esteem too! Sex can become better with time if you get creative and invent new ways of pleasing each other.

Be a little daring and try intercourse in different locations and positions or order an erotic movie to enjoy together. 

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3. Simplify, don’t complicate.

We often forget that in love, simplicity is key. Naturally, we want to build an empire with our partner, but in doing so, we can lose sight of the simple values that first fostered love.

Return to simplicity. Nothing is more valuable at the end of the day than tender moments shared in silence, with no mention of what was, could have been, or might be. Declutter your relationship.

Clear out toxicity like harmful emotions and hurtful memories. Maintain a love as pure as water. 

4. Remember it's 'we,' not only 'me.'

The ego is the most destructive force in relationships. It tears down human bonds because it favors the "me" and neglects the "we." This is why archetypes in the “me” category tend to have shorter relationships than archetypes in the “we” category.

For the sake of your relationship, let your proud guard down.

Take nothing personally. Even if your partner does something irrefutably wrong, recognize that he may have personal issues that you know nothing about and that also have nothing to do with you. Realize that in relationships, everything is a compromise, sacrifice, and endurance.

Hold your partner closer to your heart than you hold your own ego, and you’ll succeed in holding a healthy, long-term relationship. 

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5. Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.

You have the choice to focus on your partner’s strengths or weaknesses — to build him up or tear him down to nothing. In reality, you hold more power than you can imagine!

Remember that weaknesses are far more visible than strengths, but that it’s a sign of personal weakness to play on the shortcomings of another person. You may joke to others about your loved one’s imperfections and think it’s no big deal, but this can be extremely hurtful to him.

Refrain from speaking negatively about your significant other in public.

You may want to vent to others, but keeping quiet is wiser. Instead of starting the day by scolding your partner, begin your day by thanking him: “Thank you for being next to me through everything. Thank you for being you.” Nurture the person who has stood by you; he is more sensitive than you know.

Tolerate his defects as you tolerate your own. A simple “I’m proud of you” can light up your partner’s entire day. 

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6. Meditation, not desperation.

Fights often happen because one or both partners have become desperate. Bickering emerges from dissatisfactions that were never addressed.

It’s essential to organize your thoughts and intentions before you open your mouth. Even if you feel you’re at your wit’s end, sit down and meditate on it.

Consider what would happen if you approached the situation with greater calm and more logic.

Imagine the best possible outcome in your mind. See yourself having an honest conversation with your partner in which you reach an agreement that’s satisfactory to both of you. Plan the points you will make. What can you say to inspire a solution?

Meditation helps you access your higher self, where all solutions are available to you. 

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7. Be in the present, not the past.

Living outside of time disempowers you. Living in the now endows you with strength.

When you give up expectations that are disadvantageous, you start to live in the present and treasure the time you spend with your partner to the fullest. You no longer worry about what he has to do or how he has to change according to you because you become more accepting of your differences.

When you embrace the present, you’re focused on making the best of whatever situation you’re faced with at the moment.

You harness the full might of your power and the resources you’re given. When you find your thoughts drifting to what could’ve been or what might be, stop them and return to the present. Center yourself by taking several deep breaths and becoming aware of your surroundings: what do you smell, feel, hear, taste, and see? Take note of the date and time: you and your loved one exist here and now. Developing a healthy relationship with the notion of time grants you peace of mind. 

Start each day with a clean slate. Even if your partner messed up yesterday, there’s no reason he can’t make up for his mistakes tomorrow. Focus not on what he’s done wrong but on the opportunity to do right from now on.

Yes, people can change, but you must give them the chance. 

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8. Practice intimacy, not influence. 

Keep your relationship exclusive and guard your privacy. External influences are the weeds that ruin a flourishing bond. We invite all sorts of energies into our relationship without even noticing: family, friends, and enemies all play a role in the fluctuating energy we share with our partner. We like to believe that people wish us well when sometimes they don’t.

Be aware of who and what is interfering in your relationship.

Don’t do things like hang up on your boyfriend in the middle of a conversation and then call your friend to complain about him. You and your partner are in a relationship, not your friend, sibling, parent, or any other party. Promise to put each other first and filter out negative influences. 

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9. Seek reality, not perfection. 

The love we know we deserve sometimes differs from the love we actually receive. Why is that? Part of the reason is that people are far from perfect. They won’t always give us what we want. Rather, they’ll give us what they can.

Not everyone is capable of extending unconditional love, patience and tolerance.

While you should never lower your expectations or settle for less than you deserve, you should acknowledge your partner’s limitations and recognize his true capacity. Maybe he’s already giving you everything he can. 

10. Make resolutions, not conclusions.

It’s all too easy to jump to conclusions. When something goes wrong, we automatically assume the worst and analyze every part of our partner’s actions. Frustrations accumulate, and people reach their boiling points without a way to process their emotions. This kind of impulsivity causes irreversible damage and breeds more problems. 

The most critical part of any fight is the way you make up.

What’s the resolution, and who’s benefiting from it? Arguments can be quite productive if the conclusions you reach outweigh the dispute.

Never leave quarrels unfinished or let things “go away on their own.” An argument that happens once is bound to become a recurring problem.

Compromise to resolve disagreements once and for all by eliminating the core of your hostility. The aim is to reach an understanding with your partner in which petty feuds are averted and long-standing arguments are settled. Skip the would’ves, should’ves, and could’ves, and ask, “So how do we fix this?”

Offer possible solutions and invite your partner to provide his input.

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11. Recognize evolution, don't force instant change.

People are constantly changing. You’re not the same person you were last year, last month, or even last week.

Unlike a teenager passing through puberty, you won’t be able to look in a mirror and see your changes. They won’t always be obvious. And it’s even easier to become oblivious to your partner’s changes since you’re with him every day. 

Register the ways in which your loved one is evolving and adapt yourself to him.

In the case of physical change, make it known to your partner that you notice the new look. Always compliment a different hairstyle, weight loss, a fresh wardrobe, etc. Remain well ahead of changes by preparing for the next phase of your relationship and strategizing how you’ll pass through it side by side. 

While you should be optimistic about your future with your partner, you should also remain aware of the ways in which his commitment to you is likely to change through time. Increased responsibilities like kids, a house, and bills make it difficult to maintain an ideal relationship. How will you and your partner respond to challenges as they arise? The way we face our problems often reveals our true nature.

The evolution of your relationship is a two-way street.

Both partners have to be in agreement and want to move in the same direction. Progress requires a conscious desire to change. And the most powerful way to facilitate change in another person is to change yourself.

If your partner won’t budge, consider modifying your own behavior. Understand what actions you need to take to improve the dynamic between you.

Once you make the necessary changes, your partner will react in one way or another. 

You should also be asking yourself this question regularly: “Is my relationship evolving or only changing?” A relationship should not only shift but shift positively over time as both partners work to break through impasses. Evolve alongside your significant other. If this is not happening, it’s time to evaluate at which point the relationship became stagnant and how it can be revived. 

The art of human connections comes from these simple principles that reduce discord and increase attachment. Adjust your attitude to reduce recurring conflicts and reshape your relationship.

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Dr. Carmen Harra is a renowned intuitive psychologist, relationship expert, radio show host, and TV personality. She is the author of the best-selling book, Everyday Karma