Couples who experience happiness and satisfaction in their relationship feel appreciated, respected, and understood by one another. They treat each other with love, kindness, and consideration. What are some ways for making sure this happens? Research suggests the following things to keep in mind:

• Express any negative feelings or concerns without insult or injury to the other person. This means communicating without blaming, condescension, or sarcasm. Instead, try expressing your feelings in a non-hostile, diplomatic way. Practicing effective communication is one of the most important aspects of a relationship.

• Take time to do activities together, experience something new together, and to set aside time for conversation. We live in a world that is moving at an incredibly fast pace. It is easy to get so busy with all the various tasks we try to manage that finding time to just share conversation gets lost in this whirlwind. Finding opportunities to talk over the day’s events keeps you connected and a part of each other’s world.

• Conflicts and disagreements come up in every relationship from time to time. Keep them from becoming huge arguments by approaching them cooperatively. Remember that whatever the disagreement, you are both responsible for trying to work it out. Try to keep from taking a competitive stand with each other – “You did this! No, you did that!” – etc. Think instead about how each of you can help one another create a solution.

• Think about your partner’s needs, not just your own. This might mean having to stretch beyond your own likes and dislikes to see things from his/her point of view. Get in the habit of thinking about how your behavior affects the person you love.