Tune-Up Your Relationship

When it comes to love, relationships can be like cars: constant care and adjustment (instead of pricey and painful visits to the body shop/marriage counselor) are often the best way to improve and strengthen your grown-up bond. Self-esteem coach Laure Redmond, author of Feel Good Naked, joined us to share some simple ways to keep our relationship running smoothly:

  1. Stop all shame, blame, and criticism. Instead ask for what you want in a clear, specific, and positive manner, and express appreciation for your partner. To elaborate: Men need to feel competent—that they make a contribution and it is noticed. Since men tend to express affection by doing things, you should interpret their actions as love. When men know what to do and are acknowledged for it, they tend to keep doing it.
  2. Wherever you look there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time - a rotting apple, your face in the bathroom mirror compared with your face in a photo taken 30 years ago – embrace shared longevity and experiences instead of constantly looking backwards and thinking, “if only …”
  3. When your relationship starts to break down, you need triple A (Apology, Affection, Action): Say you're sorry for what you've said or done to hurt or disappoint your partner (and mean it); offer a meaningful gesture of warmth; pledge to do something that matters to your partner. You've just healed the past, built a bridge to the present, and created hope for your future.
  4. Show your partner how to have sex like a woman: creative, sensual, non-genital-based, and more pleasure - than orgasm - focused; lead him to an experience that makes his mind, body, and soul fully merge with yours.
  5. Disengage when a nasty remark is made – INSTEAD OF - giving it right back. Plan, in advance, how you will respond to negativity. One option is to literally walk away: take a stroll around the block. Once you're on your own, you can see how much your partner's mood is really affecting you. If it's substantial, you might schedule more alone time in your relationship, or ask him to visit a couples therapist with you. If you're the problem, leaving the premises when you feel a funk coming on is also a good way to keep him—and the marriage—healthy.
  6. Catch the voice in your head that complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. True Love is transcending the ego to connect with another.
  7. Relationships can grow a bit stale as time goes by. The best thing to do is pump in some fresh air. A long weekend in a romantic hideaway would be ideal, but even a few hours in a motel helps. Don't tell anyone where you are, turn off your cell phones, and unplug the TV. When you get home, you'll find your relationship has acquired blushed cheeks.

For more information, visit Laure's website.

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