By Dr. Elaine Ducharme

Falling in love is exciting. Staying in love can be more of a challenge. But, think about it. Anything valuable needs to be cared for. I remember my husband telling me that if I took good care of my car it would take care of me. He was correct. The same applies to relationships. Too often, couples get lazy about nurturing each other and their relationship. I regularly hear individuals say “what about me?” It is not that we should not be able to have our own needs filled. But, it seems that our current “me” generation has a much harder time thinking doubt being kind and generous to our partner.

Here are some 10 tips to maintaining a healthy relationship.

  1. Remember the positives…why you fell in love…keep them front and center.
  1. Trust is critical…if you are constantly checking each others cell phone messages, there is no trust.
  1. Be friends and respect each other  and remember good friends don’t try to hurt each other. They have each other’s back.
  1. Communicate and dont make assumptions. If you are not sure about something, ask. Ask your partner if he or she is mad at you or just upset about something else. Ask if they need space or could use a hug.
  1. Remember the healing power of touch. It is not just about sex. Many women tell me that although they love to snuggle they are afraid that any physical contact will lead to sex. A good relationship allows for all kinds of physical contact. But when couples feel comfortable and safe holding hands, sitting next to each other on the couch reading or watching tv and even snuggling in bed without sex, it is more likely they will feel connected and have a better sexual relationship.
  2. Sex is important. Certainly there are times that one or both partners is unable to have sex. But, too often I am seeing young couples tell me there is just no time. They go for months without any sexual contact. And then they wonder why their relationship is falling apart. Oxytocin, a hormone released during sex and other intimate gestures like hugging or holding hands has been proven to lead to ongoing feelings of intimacy.
  1. Give gifts that are special to your partner… not something you want.
  1. Say the words I love you every day. In this digital age an occasional text with these words in the middle of the day can be lovely. Just don’t let it replace saying the words in person.
  1. Make home your refuge. Make sure your home is the place you both feel safe and can find refuge in each other’s arms.
  1. Talk to a psychologist. If you feel your relationship is in trouble you may want to talk with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in marital and relationship therapy.

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