Love

10 Relationship Truths The Best Couples Already Know

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I think it's easy to make things more complicated than they need to be.

Here are some basic rules of the relationship road that will keep you headed in the right direction.

Here are 10 relationship truths the best couples already know:

1. Successful relationships take work

They don't happen in a vacuum. They occur when the couples in them take the risk of sharing what is that's going on in their hearts and heads.

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2. You can only change yourself, not your partner

If you love someone and think that after a while he or she will alter behaviors you find uncomfortable, think again. If you want changes, put them on the table. so your partner knows what you need.

3. All arguments stem from our own fear or pain

When upset occurs, check out what's going on inside of you rather than get angry with your partner. Truth is that we usually aren't upset for the reasons we think we are.

4. Understand that men and women are very different

We're not from Mars or Venus; we're not even in the same solar system. Understanding and celebrating our differences will make living together more peaceful, interesting, and fun.

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5. Honor each other in some way every day

Every morning you have the opportunity to make your relationship sweeter and deeper by recommitting to your mate. Feeling respected and cherished by the one you love makes life much nicer.

6. Anger is a waste of time

Anger is also a relationship killer because it makes you self-absorbed and won't allow you to see the good. If you are annoyed with your mate, give yourself some time to calm down and then gently discuss what's going on for you.

7. Get regular tune-ups

Go to a couples workshop, talk with a counselor, or read a relationship book together at least once a year. Even if you don't think you need it, you will pick up a couple of ideas, and the process alone will strengthen your connection.

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8. Find a way to become and stay best friends

For some, this sounds unromantic, but for those who live it, most say it's the best part of their time together.

9. Be responsible for your own happiness

No other person can make you happy. It's something you have to do on your own. If you feel it's your partner's fault, think again, and look within to find out what piece may be missing for you.

10. Give what you want to get

Our needs change with time. If you'd like to feel understood, try being more understanding. If you want to feel more love, try giving more. It's a simple program that really works.

There are no guarantees, but couples who practice these techniques have longer and stronger relationships than those who are not proactive in their love.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, syndicated columnist, keynote speaker, and most recently the author of Emotional Fitness for Couples.

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This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.