If you read gossip pages or celebrity magazines, you may think that no relationship lasts in this country anymore. Unfortunately, the reality of our romantic relationships isn’t too far from that. It is currently estimated that almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.
With so many breakups going on, how is it that some couples thrive while the rest fail to survive? The truth is that it takes some work to keep relationships healthy. And most people find that the work is well worth the effort when their relationship is still going strong decades after it began. Some simple strategies can help couples strengthen their romantic relationships, no matter what obstacles they face together.
Maintain the Right Ratio
Christine M. Allen, PhD, knows about maintaining a romantic relationship. Not only is she a psychologist and a life coach, but she has also had a strong, healthy relationship with her husband for more than 25 years in the hustle and bustle of New York City.
The secret, Dr. Allen says, is to make sure the positives in the relationship outweigh the negatives by at least a 5:1 ratio. “If you have a lot of complaints, it helps to counterbalance that with a lot of praise, recognition, and affection for all the things that go right in your life,” she says.
Allen has important suggestions to help you maintain that special balance. “When possible, turn a complaint into a request,” she says. “In other words, rather than say, ‘It is thoughtless to be late,’ say, ‘I would like you to call me if you are going to be late.’ Also make any complaining specific to an action. For example, say, ‘When you do X, I feel Y.’”