Anyone who’s in a relationship knows it’s not always roses and rainbows. In the beginning there’s passion, good times, a developing friendship and a bond that strengthens with closeness and intimacy. This phase of the relationship feels genuine, exciting and promising.  But when the “honeymoon phase” is over and things become real, they can also become different and challenging. This NYC matchmaker shares how to maintain a healthy relationship. As a matchmaker and dating coach in New York City, I get to meet lots of very interesting people who have had their fair share of relationship issues.

As it goes, you’re with the person you love, the one you want to spend your life with or are already spending your life with, how do you sustain happiness and make it last? You love and trust each other but you’ve hit some bumps in the road. There’s a disconnect, you feel as though you’re not being seen or heard, all you want is for your partner to be more considerate, maybe not work so late every night, or stop being so lazy, spend more time with you and the family, you’re constantly bickering, not seeing eye to eye, things just aren’t so easy anymore. You start to question whether you really are right for each other or ever were.

Did you marry the wrong person? 

Are you headed towards a lifetime of misery?

Maybe you feel stuck and unsure how to get back to the good old days. Its ok if your partner is not your best friend. Well, you can’t move backwards but you can certainly move forward towards a stronger and even better relationship but both you and your partner must to be willing to put in the work. Remember, you’re a team, and must work together, especially when in conflict.

Whether you’re newlyweds, in a long-term relationship headed towards marriage or have been married for years, there are certain components that are critical to keeping your relationship alive and well!

One thing many couples are missing is time for themselves. Don’t forget about maintaining your individual needs. Think of yourself as the nucleus of your team, the relationship you keep with yourself is vital. If you get lost doing everything for your significant other and or kids and nothing for yourself, you’ll feel drained and unhappy. Self-care is as crucial to your sanity as it is to the success of your relationship. Whether it’s a morning run, a quiet cup of coffee, a peaceful bath when everyone’s asleep, a spa day, getting out for a drink, lunch with friends, painting, picking up tennis again, whatever serves as your catharsis and makes you smile internally…do it.

Next, focus consistently on your emotional connection with your partner. Work on yourselves, as a couple, together. If you always consider yourselves a work in progress things can only get better. Make quality time for each other.

Have date nights as often as possible, even if you have a busy work schedule and kids, find a way. Do new and old things you enjoy to constantly re connect and keep the spark going.  Talk about your goals as a couple, recognize the good but also discuss how things can improve. Making a vision board of the life you see together is a fun connection provoking activity. Before you go to sleep at night, tell each other one thing you love or appreciate about one another. Acknowledgement creates a supportive frame for the relationship and incentivizes positive efforts.

This brings us to the communication piece. We always hear “you must have good communication,” but what does that really mean? The way you express yourself navigates the dynamic between you and your partner. It’s critical to remain respectful, understanding and encouraging with your words and your tone. Your communication style alone can steer you in a positive direction or completely drive you off track. It’s important to stay in sync.

Being aware of what makes your significant other feel loved and appreciated and applying those methods to your relationship is a huge game changer. Let’s say you want to spend more time with your partner and all they want to do is watch sports on their days off but are always telling you how beautiful and amazing you are and don’t understand why you’re upset; it’s because in their minds they’re showing you love the way they know how.

You, however, are not receiving the same message because your idea of how to express love is different. This can all change by becoming cognizant of one another’s love languages. Make sure your partner knows what you need from them and vice versa. Mind reading is nobody’s forte.

It’s helpful to take a time out when arguing and your emotions are heightened, tell your partner you’ll talk when you feel ready. Silence and passive aggressiveness will make your relationship sink in troubled water. Do not place blame when expressing concerns, feelings, disagreements or needs, no matter how hard that may be. Avoid saying “you do this or you do that” replace it with when this happens it makes me feel like”. Come to a resolution together, as a team.

“How can we make this better.” These little things make a big difference. If there is something you want, present it as a request, not a demand. Don’t attack your partners perspective or kick them when they’re down, be as understanding as possible while staying loyal to your needs. If they’re unwilling to meet you half way and this becomes a pattern, seeking help from a coach or therapist should help. Seeing someone even when times are good to gain perspective, to build relationship skills and to hash out your differences along the way is also a great form of sustaining a solid foundation.

Much like a beautiful garden of flowers, without proper upkeep and nourishment, it will not grow. Treat your relationship with the same kind of love, dedication and care, and it will continue to blossom.

As we come up on another new year this NYC matchmaker shares how to maintain a healthy relationship for 2019.

Happy New Year !