10 Things that can make a big difference in your relationship

A strong, supportive relationship is built on a couple’s words and actions. With work, children and other responsibilities, sometimes it is easy to take your spouse or partner for granted or forget to do the things that strengthen a relationship. Here are ten small things to do that can have a big pay-off:

  1. Give your spouse or partner a compliment. Too often we compliment others but take our own partners for granted. Give a sincere compliment and go one step further: brag about your partner to others when your partner is in earshot. It will boost his/her self-confidence and engender positive feelings.
  2. Find something to laugh about. Laughter helps us cope with stress and the pressure of our busy lives. A sense of humor helps relationships survive problems, large and small.
  3. Share an activity both of you enjoy. It can be anything from going out to dinner to dancing, gardening, biking, or whatever the two of you like to do. It’s a great way to keep intimacy alive and well. You may want to commit to a specific time and date to ensure that it is a priority.
  4. Treat your partner the way you want to be treated. Be respectful if you want to be respected. Think of how you would treat a friend and display the same consideration to your partner. This approach helps establish the fact that both parties have a responsibility in the relationship.
  5. Take time to touch. The value of human touch is amazing. Eight to ten meaningful touches or hugs a day help both of you maintain physical and emotional health.
  6. An easy but powerful way to value your partner is to smile and share something that you appreciate about him/her.
  7. Discuss the things that bother you. Letting things build up day after day without discussing and resolving them leads to anger and resentment. The more quickly something can be addressed, the more time you will have for the enjoyable and healthy parts of your relationship.
  8. Express your feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Communication is key. Just as it is important to discuss the things that are bothering you, equally important is communicating your feelings…the joys, sorrows, and frustrations that we all experience. Sometimes just having someone to listen – not necessarily to provide advice – is all we need to feel better.
  9. Chart your course together. Where do you two want to be a year from now, five years from now? What are your short and long term goals? Charting a course establishes a shared vision for your relationship, and helps the two of you move toward shared goals.
  10. Be willing to compromise. Give up some of your wants for the sake of what your partner wants. Is it better to be “right” or to be happy? Every relationship has its moments where partners give and take.


Naikan, a Japanese practice of self-reflection rooted in Zen Buddhism, can help couples strengthen their relationship. Naikan reflection is based on three questions:

  1. What have I received from this person?
  2. What have I given to this person?
  3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused this person?

These questions provide a foundation for reflecting on our relationships not only with our partner, but with colleagues, friends, children, and family. Thoughtful and honest answers provide a more realistic view of our actions and how they impact others, and of the compromises which occur in every relationship.


Your program is here to help you along the journey of life. No situation is too big or too small. When you and your household members need assistance, reach out anytime and we will help get you on the right path to meet your needs.

Print this article
Option 1: With your mouse, right click and select “Print.”
Option 2: With your keyboard, first press and hold down the “Ctrl” key or "Command" key, then press and hold down the “P” key.