Human beings crave intimacy, need to love and be loved, and function best when they are. Yet people have much trouble maintaining relationships. This is second half of the list containing The New Rules of Relationships.
15. Take a long-range view. A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you’re both on the same path.
16. Never underestimate the power of good grooming.
17. Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadness as well as hopes and dreams.
18. Never go to sleep angry. Try a little tenderness.
19. Apologize, apologize, apologize. Anyone can make a mistake. Repair attempts are crucial—highly predictive of marital happiness. They can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic—but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every long-term relationship.
20. Not every major problem requires solution by talkathon. Sometimes just doing something together—a hike, for example—calms and reconnects partners.
21. Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one’s needs is an invitation to resentment at the burden and unhappiness for both partners. We’re all dependent to a degree—on friends, mentors, spouses. This is true of men as well as women.
22. Maintain self-respect and self-esteem. It’s easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work—paid or volunteer—has long been one of the most important ways to build and exercise a sense of self.
23. Keep the relationship alive by bringing into it new interests from outside. The more passions in life that you have and share, the richer your partnership will be. It is unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of your needs in life.
24. Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate. Share responsibilities. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take.
25. Stay open to spontaneity. Fun and surprise are sexy.
26. Maintain your energy. Stay healthy.
27. Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.
28. Don’t just run away from a bad relationship; you’ll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what in you is creating the relationship. Change yourself before you change your partner.
29. Remember that love is not a limited commodity that you’re in of or out of. It’s a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you interact in new ways, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.