12 Smart Strategies

Why do some couples seems so head-over-heels? It's not that their lives are a lot easier or more perfect than yours, but they do know how to keep the daily grind from eroding their relationship. Get some of what they have by incorporating these happy-couple strategies into your love life.

1. Fall in love all over again. Make a conscious decision to be in love. The more you act as if you are in love, the more you will feel like you are.

2. Remember the good times. Treat your partner like you did at the beginning of your relationship. Make a list of all the things you used to enjoy doing together and add any new fantasies to the list. Plan for them and make them happen.

3. Help your partner feel more loved and secure in your love, so that he or she can open up to you and express feelings and ideas without fear of being attacked or judged. Compliment, praise, and give a hug. Small gestures make the grandest statements.

4. Don't make unilateral decisions. You're a team in many ways, so act like one. Check in and make decisions together about things whether it could be big or small. Be willing to compromise.

5. Be present. Train your mind to stay in the moment - not at work, thinking about the new color you want to paint your kitchen, or what time should you take the dog to the vet. 

6. Pay attention to your physical appearance. Take the time to stay in shape and look good for each other. It does matter.

7. Boost your compatibility. Couples in crisis focus on all the ways they are different, whereas, those who are in love zero in on their similarities and think their differences are cute. Build compatibility by taking turns planning activities to do together. If you don't like your partner's choice, don't complain because the next one will be your turn.

8. Do not put any blame. Replace blame and criticism with solutions and tenderness. Problem-solve together - sit close, hold hands, and then touch each other's face or hair. Be playful. When was the last time you laughed together? Rend a comedy movie to tickle your funny bone.

9. Plan for sex. Spontaneity is great, but smart couples know that good sex doesn't just happen. Like everything else, it takes time and planning.

10. Find some facts - don't read minds. You may think you know it, but you can't assume. You may believe he should know, but that's not fair, either. Always clear up misunderstandings and misinterpretations to make sure they don't throw you both off the course.

11. Fight fair - and by appointment only. Schedule a limited time to discuss a problem and try to limit your comments to that issue only. It's easier to relax and feel free to enjoy each other when you know you won't be ambushed by a litany of complaints and criticisms.

12. Prepare for checkouts. Even in the closest marriage, everyone needs time alone. Don't take it personally and don't make each other feel guilty if you need to spiritually and emotionally regroup. Just be sure to tell each other when you are checking out (maximum of one day) - and when you're checking back in.

Let's Be Friends

Elle's Notebook