Being in a rock-solid relationship can protect your heart and mental health. It's totally normal to drive each other up the wall now and tehn, but following these tips from t Rachel Ross, M.D., Ph.D., an expert on the showThe Doctors, can help you stay strong—and avoid any snowballing resentment.
During a Recurring Argument. . .
Instead of throwing your hands up and storming out (as usual), walk toward your partner and give him a hug. Yes, it will take some major willpower, but you'd be surprised how much this simple move can soften the mood. If spontaneous affection isn't an option—hey, you're only human!—take a 10-minute break to cool off before trying again.
In an Emergency. . .
Say his mother just had a heart attack. Instead of asking "Do you need anything?" or "What can I do?" use your best judgment and take action: Book the plane tickets, find the dog sitter, arrange the hospital flower delivery. People can have a hard time giving directions under duress, and vague offers may not be helpful. Be assertive.
After He's Late, Again. . .
Habitual lateness is best handled after the second or third offense. Tell him that you feel disrespected and that punctuality is important to you. If you missed that boat and he's guilty of years of tardiness, don't go tit for tat by being late yourself. Rather, warn him, then cancel plans when he doesn't arrive on time—or just leave on your own (e.g., when he fails to meet you for a movie date, leave for the theater without him). Show him he'll miss out if he doesn't get with the program.
When That Oh-So Annoying Habit Makes You Cringe. . .
The next time your partner trots out his same old (yet still terrible!) party jokes, bypass the condescending smile or eye rolling. If his humor is stale, get in there and find a way to make it funny. Or be the one person in the group who laughs. Don't get caught up trying to fix every little thing about him. You two are a team—so get on the team.