1.Treat your partner as you would your boss, best friend, or best customer. show respect, love, and kindness.
2.Think about what your partner wants and give it to him or her. John Gottman, Ph.D says that receiving influence from one's spouse is a major indicator of marital happiness. Consider your spouse or partner's advise. It shows that you care and the he or she counts.
3.Think of ways you can do the unexpected and be thoughtful. Remember how you acted when you wanted to win your partner over. These acts of thoughtfulness remind your partner that he or she is on your mind. This creates safety and security in the relationship.
4.Express your thoughts carefully. Being married doesn’t give anyone permission to let it all hang out. Be caring and assertive but not aggressive and abusive. Be present and engaged. Being too aggressive can create a pursue/ withdrawal pattern in the relationship that can spiral out-of-control.
5.Spend regular time together alone without the family or the kids. Being together enjoying each other builds positive memories that can keep you positive when the going gets tough.
6.Look for ways to compliment your partner. We all need to know that people see the good and special parts of ourselves.
8.Hug when you say hello and goodbye. It feels good and it makes people feel loved. Rituals like this are so important to establish a secure bond between people.
9.When your partner does something for you, say thank you. When your partner comes home after a day at work, greet her at the door and say hello. Ask how his or her day went. When your partner leaves for work in the morning, say goodbye and “I love you” or “Have a good day.” When your partner faces a challenge at work during the day, ask how it went when you get home or call during the day to see how the he or she is doing. This all says, "I love you, you are on my mind, we are a team."
10.Learn and practice communication skills. Relating successfully to another person requires a set of skills that can be learned.
11.During your evening meal together, avoid the temptation to watch television or read the paper or mail. Look at your partner and have a conversation.
12.If you want to make plans that affect how your partner will be spending time, check with him first and make sure it’s convenient.
13.When you ask your partner a question, make eye contact, and listen to the answer.
14.When you disagree with something your partner says, pay attention to your response. Do you express your opinion without putting him or her down? You can express your opinion assertively rather than aggressively.
15.Pay attention to how much of your side of the conversation is asking questions versus making statements. If you tend to be the dominant one, ask more questions.
16.Ask open-ended questions to encourage your partner to open up and talk. Open-ended questions begin like this:
a. Tell me about...
b. What do you think of...
c. What was it like when...
17.Have you become passive with your partner because that is the easiest way to avoid conflict? Over time, this is not a good idea. You will inevitably begin to build up feelings of resentment because you are stifling your feelings, thoughts, and opinions. If you think you are choosing passive behavior too often, think about discussing it with your partner and asking him to help you be more assertive. Holding things in and withdrawing from a relationship can trigger feelings of insecurity in one's partner. It can trigger the pursue/ withdraw cycle often seen in counselor's offices. Try to stay present and engaged to avoid this.
18.Check your communication with your partner and beware of using “You” messages. These statements begin with you.
You need to come home by 6:00 tonight.
You should not do that.
You should call me from the office and tell me when you will be home.
Here is what you ought to do.
“You” messages are damaging because they make the other person feel bad or disrespected. It feels like you are talking down to him or her.
If you want to demonstrate to your partner that you respect and esteem him or her, try speaking with “I” messages instead. When you start your statement with “I,” you are taking responsibility for the statement. It is less blaming and less negative than the “you” message.
You can use this formula: Your feelings + Describe the behavior + Effect on you. This is how an “I” message sounds: When I heard that you’d planned a weekend up north, I was confused about why you hadn’t asked me first, so I could be sure to get the time off. It takes some practice and you have to stop and think about what you are going to say, but your marriage deserves to be handled with care.
19.Make a list of your partner’s positive qualities. Share them with him and tell her why you think each is true.
20.Respect each other’s private space. Over time, many couples let this slide.