THE BLOG

Five Ways to Spring Clean Your Relationship

08/05/2014 14:36 BST | Updated 08/07/2014 10:59 BST
peter zelei via Getty Images

There comes a time in most relationships when the gloss has definitely gone, and you find yourself complaining about your partner, wondering what went wrong...

Well, since we can't change other people, the only way to change your partner's behaviour is to change yours (we give out what we receive). Why not review the following five areas to see where you could put the spring back into your relationship?

1. You're fault finding - Constant criticism can be hard for any partner to take. When you have an issue, address the problem, not your partner. Don't say "You're an idiot for forgetting to pay the bill!" Instead say "Forgetting to pay the credit card bill cost us a fine, how can we avoid that in future?" Remember you chose your partner for a reason. One of the happiest couples I know, together for 50 years, have rose-tinted glasses for each other and are still very much in love. Why? They focus on each other's good points. If fault finding is one of your faults, change the colour of your lens by asking yourself each day: what are three things that are great about my partner?

2. Lack of respect - Even more toxic than fault finding is doing things that deliberately disrespect your partner. Have you ever rolled your eyes when they speak, or called them names like 'lazy' or 'irresponsible'? Even if you think a name in your head, without saying it, it will influence the way that you act towards them. Be careful of any labels you give your partner, try to keep them positive ones; i.e. 'gorgeous', 'winner', 'wonderful!' Respect is the cornerstone of any healthy, happy relationship. To keep love alive, make respect a priority.

3. Being Needy - Sometimes we have an underlying expectation that our partners will meet all our needs. We may consciously know this to be impossible, yet still have been influenced by the media, love songs, movies like 'Pretty Woman' or romance novels. Whatever the influence, we can come to secretly believe that someone will come along and be able to fulfil all our needs. Be aware of this, and be fair both yourself and your partner. Think about how you could meet some of your needs from different sources: your friends, family, hobbies and mentors. This way you will not be too reliant on your partner. Also try not to think about what you can get from your partner, but what you can give them.

4. Not discussing problems - Sweeping them under the carpet. You hope things will improve without taking constructive action to make them do so. The more willing you are to be open and honest about what you need, the better your chances of a solution. Think how you would like someone to bring up a particular problem with you? Bring up problems early on, and as kindly as possible. Commit to discussing a resolution together calmly and practically.

5. Taking your partner for granted - Not being appreciative, not remembering to say thank you when they get the groceries or do the dishes. Everyone loves appreciation, say thank you to your partner on a regular basis. Remember to make them feel special too, the way you did in the beginning. By doing so you increase the wealth of the emotional bank account balance of your relationship.

Once you've reviewed this list, consider if it's time to do a bit of romantic 'spring cleaning' in your relationship.