Relationship Success

Advice from Men

1. After your next screaming match, right before the makeup sex, don’t bother with the “I love you” cliché. Just tell her, “You know, you’re the only person I’d ever tolerate talking to me like that. You’re that amazing.”

2. No screaming matches lately? Have one, fast. If she’s screaming at you, she still gives a damn. Silence from a woman means something has died. (Or will die. Tonight. In his sleep.)

3. Drop this bomb: “You remember the time we [insert personal-best sex saga here]? I bet we could do even better.”

4. Thinking about leaving her? Think about this first: No woman is perfect. The next one you pick up could indeed be cooler, hornier, and wealthier. But you’ll soon grow tired of her crap, too.

5. Maul her for 10 seconds when she least expects it. A mini-maul here, a mini-maul there. Next thing you know, you’ll have a strip-maul.

6. All the stuff you’d want after a breakup—nights on the town, drop-of-a-hat vacations, those long-put-off season tickets—you can enjoy right now. With a built-in date. So pick something fun and do it.

7. Learn a new sport together—like golf or fencing—that encourages you to admire each other’s form.

8. As you ask your buddy for counsel on your girl’s dropping temperature and increasing distance, did it ever occur to you to ask her?

9. Go Gomez Addams on her. Speak Spanish. Dance the Mamushka. Kiss her from her wrist to her armpit. Blow up a train set together. Cara mia!

10. Commit an unsolicited act of cleanliness.

11. This weekend, take her to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a great dinner. Also pick up food specifically earmarked as body paint.

12. You’re both 10 excess pounds away from feeling good about yourselves again. Drop ’em together. It’ll be you and her against the world, just like old times.

13. You haven’t offered up a late-night postcoital confession in a very long time. Surprise her.

14. Reinstate one courtesy toward her that’s been lost since your courtship: opening the car door for her, bringing her flowers, holding in your gas.

15. Organize a cheesy diamond-commercial moment—like reproposing to her at Trafalgar Square in front of family. Overwrought? Yeah, but do the math: jewelry + effort + pigeons + her parents = months of rough sex.

16. Tried everything on this list and she’s still unresponsive? It’s time to smile, hold her hand, and offer her these five risky words: “Now it’s up to you.”

Advice from Women

1.Tend Your Own Garden

How much time do you spend thinking about, or complaining about, what he or she is doing wrong? Catch yourself when you do this, and stop. Consciously turn your focus, at that moment, to what would be the best thing you could do, right now, to look after yourself and your own life. If they’re late coming home, stop stewing and seize the moment to do something you need to do, or enjoy a great book or movie. Smile and say hi when they get home. If they don’t want to attend an event with you, smile and go out and have fun on your own, or invite a friend to go with you. Refuse to let it get you down! These are just a couple of examples. The key is not to let anything they do phase you or wreck your own peace and enjoyment of life.

2. Learn to be Happy, No Matter What They Do

If your happiness depends on what another person does, or doesn’t do, that’s a sure recipe for misery. Decide to be happy, no matter what. Find, or create, things about your life that you enjoy, and focus on them when things get tough. So many of us begin to identify with our misery, the “I’ve been done wrong” drama. If you’re in that kind of rut, own the fact that you, and you alone, are in charge of how you feel about your life. If you need to change something, change it. But if you decide to stay in a situation, make a commitment to yourself to be happy, no matter what. (People often resist this at first, they identify so much with being the “righteous” partner who is constantly offended, it takes a lot of work on my part to pull them out of the role that they simultaneously curse and love at the same time – after all, there’s a certain satisfaction in being “right” all the time)

3. Listen to Your Body

Be aware that hostility and resentment hurt you more than they do the other person, especially if you keep feeling resentful, even when the person’s not with you! Learn to recognize signs of tension and poor health in your body: stomach pains, neck or back pain, headaches. At the first sign, assess the situation and do something that helps you immediately feel better (note: lashing out at your significant other does not count!).

4. Own Your Own Buttons

If your partner knows just what to do or say to set you off, don’t blame them for your reaction. You can’t control what someone else does, but you can control what you do. Learn to recognize your own “hot buttons”, and notice yourself as you start to react. Stop, go to another room, do something silly, whatever it takes to interrupt your reaction. This really works. I’m not suggesting you leave the room and slam the door – instead, take a deep breath and say something like “I’m going to go into the other room for a few minutes, I’m starting to feel upset and I really don’t want to say anything that might hurt us.” Sometimes being silent, and refusing to respond to barbs and button-pushing, can really help, as long as it’s not the classic “silent treatment”, which is really just a show of anger.

5. Focus on What’s Good

Make a point of focusing on what you like about the other person, and what would be good to improve in your own life. When you focus on the good things, in the other person and your own life, the other person will often begin to miraculously improve on their own. This is the most incredible phenomenon of all. Many of us think the other person will never change, unless we insist that they do and repeatedly tell them where they’re failing. Ironically, they often won’t change until we decide to leave them alone, accept them as they are, and focus on our own lives and happiness.