by Martin Novell LMFT and Daina Hulet
In therapy, it's not uncommon for one member of a couple to complain that they see their mate treat coworkers and friends better than they treat them. In so many of these situations, little things that involve simple politeness can shift your relationship to a much better place. Here are 6 quick tips that practiced regularly will help you build a stronger, more respectful relationship. And they just take minutes!

1. Don’t leave the house
without knowing something about what you each have scheduled for that day. “I’ll be home early, so I’ll pick up dinner.” “It’s my basketball night.” “I have that meeting with Jessie’s teacher at 3.” If you don’t get the chance to connect at home, call or text just to touch base during the day.

2. Find something you honestly appreciat
in your partner and demonstrate your fondness or appreciation in some way.

3. Simple politeness can generate a more positive mood in the household. “Thank you, I appreciate your cleaning up the kitchen for us.”  “I know you’re just as tired as I am, so I’m grateful that you walked the dog for me tonight.”

4. When you come home from work and you need a minute, 15 minutes, or a quick nap to unwind before you can talk, let your mate know that as soon as you greet them. It can’t hurt to add “But I still love you,” as reassurance, that your time out is not about them. It helps avoid those shouting matches that occur when one of you feels dismissed.

5. When one or both of you are running late for an event, don’t try to make the time up on the road, or start catastrophising about what’s going to happen if you’re late. Having fights in the car when you are stressed is typical, but it ruins what was meant to be a perfectly wonderful event.
Instead make and accept apologies, make any calls you need to make regarding you arrival time, and regroup before you get into the car.

6. Know when it’s time to walk away from an argument. Blaming, eye rolling, name calling, rage… are all examples of a disagreement that’s out of control. When this happens it’s time to walk away until you have both calmed down and can think clearly. Say,“I need to take some time away from this argument. It’s best for both of us. I promise we will work this out soon.” And, make sure you do.

It’s all about making connections!

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