1. Try something new together.

Be creative and find new and interesting things to do together. Though it takes a little energy, the rewards are worth it. Preferably choose something that neither of you have ever tried. This adds to the relationship, the fun of exploring new things together.

These are the things we do when we first begin to date, the fun things that keep us in a state of anticipation and relaxation. This is something that one can do to keep that sense of excitement and expectation alive.

2. Remember to laugh.

Humor is a cure for almost everything. Even in our darkest moments of despair, we can smile and laugh at some quirky or funny event, or some memory. Be playful, watch comedies, go to comedy clubs, etc. Fill your relationship with laughter.

3. Become a foodie.

When we are new to a relationship, food can become an aspiring component. The old adage, that “the way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach,” has a grain of truth to it.

We must all eat to survive, and our culture has made eating, cooking, and kitchen comfort a part of our everyday lives. So be creative, ham it up. Take cooking lessons, cook together, and cook for one another. It’s all part of the grooming, caring, taking care of, that is so essential to the relationship.

4. Make life an adventure.

Go to new and different physical locations. It does not have to be a grand trip. It can simply be a weekend road trip. When you move your head to a different pillow in a different place, your defenses drop away and you become more open to one another.

5. Always keep each other’s confidences.

Never, ever share with friends the intimate experiences and conversations that arise in relationship. Trust is based on experience, and if either partner hears their conversations and experiences casually bantered about in the public domain, trust can be easily broken and hard to re-establish.

6. Be honest.

Integrity is essential to relationships. That means to be honest about everything, including money. In my experience as a parenting and family expert, money is one of the most common reasons for fighting.

7. The Empathic Process

When a relationship is in trouble, it is important to communicate in an empathic way. Empathy helps to put things in perspective. This means to dialogue without defense, to listen to each other in an intimate way, by holding hands or touching, in a neutral environment, without accusation or blame.

Take turns dialoguing and then dialogue together, to try to come to a compromise or solution. The most important part of the empathic process is to listen without defense. This creates a safe space in which to return again and again, and work out problems.

Author(s)

  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.