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10 Tips for Improving a Bad Relationship

Yes, you can make a bad relationships better – especially if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in. These tips for fixing relationship problems will help you fall in love all over again!

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last — more than passion or even sex.” ~ Simone Signoret.

The stronger your threads are, the better your relationship will be. Below are several tips for improving a bad relationship; if you’re unhappily married, read 4 Ways to Create Love and Peace in an Unhappy Marriage.

One of the most popular relationship improvement books on Amazon is How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. The authors (Love and Stosny) say talking things out isn’t always the best way to improve a bad relationship or achieve more connection and closeness.

Untangle money issues – they contribute to couples problems

“Often, when couples argue about money, it’s not money that’s the problem,” says William Harley, PhD, author of His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. “Instead, the money fights are a byproduct of relationship neglect.”

Money can become a weapon when one spouse uses the other’s spending habits as ammunition or when a spouse spends money to get even. To improve a bad relationship, figure out exactly what you’re arguing about — especially if you tend to fight about money.

Take risks together, as a couple

Trying new things together, such as sky diving or learning about astronomy, unites you as a couple. Psychology professor Leaf Van Boven from the University of Colorado explains that happiness is found in what you do (not what you buy) because experiences are open to positive reinterpretations, become a meaningful part of your identity, and contribute to a happy marriage or relationship.

Learn how to express anger

Expressing anger and resolving conflict not only improve a bad relationship and keeps your love alive, it also lengthens your life span. “When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict,” says Ernest Harburg, researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Michigan. “Usually nobody is trained to do this.” His research reveals that couples who suppress anger are twice as likely to face early death as those who express it.

Commit to checking in with each other every day

“Commit to checking in with each other every day – or at least a few times a week without distractions,” says Marriage and Family Counselor Lisa Brookes Kift. “Marriages often get “dry” when couples get busy and don’t prioritize each other and get a read or take the pulse of how the other is feeling.”

This tip for improving a bad relationship will help you stay committed.

Find reasons to laugh (laughter is a surprising fix for couples problems!)

Kift also suggest “cracking each other up” with  stupid pet names, funny looks, and private jobs. Humor binds couples together and de-escalating conflict.  It also demonstrates friendship in the marriage, which is very important.

Stop criticizing, stonewalling, and being defensive in your relationship

Be mindful of criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness.  If a lot of any or all of these exist in a marriage – research has shown that the chances are much higher for divorce. Criticism and contempt do not keep love alive; in fact, it’ll thwart your relationship goals for good.

Remember your romantic beginnings

“To improve a bad relationship, visualize the person you dated and married,” says psychologist Bruce Eimer. “Remember that person is still alive inside of him. The stressors and tribulations of life may have made that inner goodness hard to see. But, if you can remember who you fell in love with, you’ll improve your marriage.”

Appreciate your partner – be grateful for your love

Look at your husband and take a moment to appreciate all of the things that he does for you and gives you.  You may in fact want to express your appreciation for him verbally and/or non-verbally. To keep your relationship strong, tell your husband what you like about him and watch him beam.  You’ll beam too!

Keep your intimate life alive and healthy

Knowing how to say “I love you” in small daily acts of love will improve a bad relationship. Making one day a week a special day–a day during which to schedule a “goody time” — can help your marriage.  This can be any shared activity that you both can appreciate (such as a dinner out, going to the movies, etc.).

If you struggle to express love, read How to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Keep communicating

Research shows that contempt and holding back communication are harbingers of marital trouble and potential failure. So, find things about your spouse to appreciate and respect, and don’t stonewall.  To improve a bad relationship, you need to keep talking, touching, and connecting with each other.

If you have a hard time standing up for yourself, read How to Say No to Your Boyfriend.

If you have any thoughts on improving a bad relationship, please share below…

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90 thoughts on “10 Tips for Improving a Bad Relationship”

  1. Hi,

    Me and my BF have been together for 5 years. We have a daughter whom is 4 years old. Our relationship is at a very bad stage at the moment and i dont know what to do…

    We broke up after 2 years for 3 months. we got back together. A year later we broke up again for 6 months. He came back every time saying that he missed me and relized that he loves me…

    But over the weekend i found out that he messaged another girl, becouse he found out she was seeing someone. I confronted both of them, she indicated that she doensnt want my man, and he indicated that it was only a flirt message as he thought it was harmless fun. They have a bit of a history so i am scared that they have unresloved feelings for eachother.

    When we spoke about it he said that he loves me but also feels that he wants to be single. He says every guy has a part of him that still wants to be single. We have decided now to try again and make this relationship work. But I dont know if he is saying this just to not hurt me and then will continue to taxt this other woman… We fight alot about things and i know i can be a real B***** but i dont want to loose the father of my child becouse i do really love him alot.

    But how can i believe him when he says that he has no feelings for her… as he has lied alot about things in the pass…

    I am torn between wanting to make this work and just leaving him and just be happy, but i know i will never be really happy eithout him…

    He is saying things like, he feels that i am controlling him, and he cant do what he wants and always has to explaine and ask me before he can do anything….

    he said maybe he is just not the type of guy for a relationship….

    What should I do….

    Please help

  2. Hello,

    I have been with my wife for 15 years, but only married 2 years now. We have 2 kids together, and the realtionship was great. I need help on what to do. Over the years I’ve changed alot aswell as she did, but I’m the only one (from her) that needs correction in my ways after we gotten married. We had a huge fight last night, and this has been on-going for about a year now about everything I do seems to be wrong to her. I’ve told her all I do is change for you, but the things you spoke about changing never happened. She told me it was over last night because of I told her I am tired of her commanding me to do things but she never owns up to hers. Things got really heated, shouting matches back and forth, she told me she never wants to talk to me again, and she wants a divorce. She also said I have too much anger towards her, aswell as she has towards me. She hasn’t spoken to me all day, and ignores my calls and emails. Is there any fixing this after 15 years together??? Can someone just give up on a relationship that’s been in it this long, so quickly???? PLEASE I NEED HELP! We both have said alot of hurtful things to each other, but I LOVE HER SO MUCH, and want my family to stay together.

  3. Hi,
    When my bf and I started dating two years ago everything was great….he was a nice guy and we had evryhting in common there was nothing we couldn’t talk about.he was honestly happy I chose to be with him. …but that all quickly changed after I gave birth to our son and became a stay at home mom…..I suffered from really bad post partum depression and I gained a lot of weight……and now its like he dosent love me anymore he makes comments about my weight my hair and my whole over all look and when i get mad he says oh your so sensitive……i shouldnt be with someone who makes me feel bad but right now its hard to find work and i have no where to go…..what should i do?

  4. I have a boyfriend and have been dating for about a week now, and he said that he doesn’t care if we tell people about our realationship, so did I, but he acts like it’s a HUGE secret!!! Can you help me a little bit???

  5. *Remember your romantic beginnings

    Yes. Some people thing it’s cheesy to relive that first date or celebrate different types of anniversaries, but those kinds of events, however cheesy, can often go a long way towards providing more glue that holds your relationship together.

  6. Hello,

    I have been with my husband now a total of 14 years, married for 10 of those years. We have 4 children together 12, 11, 6, and 14 months. I stopped working last year when my employer went out of business which in a way kind of benefit me. My husband opened his own barber shop last year as well and things have been going great for his business. I guess my biggest problem is that he makes me feel like I don’t exist. I am always busy with the kids and I know he is busy as well but I can’t remember the last time he actually wanted to spend time with me or even the kids. When he comes home from work he does play with them but that is for only about an hour if that because he gets home late. On his day off Ill suggest that we should go to lunch or something while the kids are at school and its like he would rather go fishing or just stay home or visit his parents. He his planning on visiting his brother and sister next month by himself they live 8 hours away. When to me in reality I think he should spend some time with me and our kids. I don’t know if its just me being selfish but I don’t like the unwanted and feeling alone, ignored, and empty feeling. Ive tried talking to him and talking to him is like talking to a brick wall. Any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  7. I made a huge stupid mistake and I threw away my chances by lying to my girlfriend. I’d do anything to get her back. I’d do literally anything the part that makes it hard for me. Is that I only have four hours to fix all the stupid shit that I cause. I’m not sure whose been more hurt by what I did. Me or her. Honestly if I could take back what I did. I would. I mean to me it doesn’t sound like she cares at all anymore. But she has offered to give me 4 hours she says if it goes well we can work it out but I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m heart broken by it all I haven’t eaten in days. I haven’t slept in about a week I constantly feel sick. I can’t get her off my mind. She is my world. I adore her. I shouldn’t have done all the stuff I did. All I want is to prove to her how I’m a changed man and how I would do anything for her. But that’s really hard to show. I’m a terrible person for what I did. I just want a way to make it up to her so even if she decides I’m not worth it at least I tried. I mean one day I want to marry this girl and grow old with her and be able to see her radiant smile every day honestly her smile melts my heart. She is my world. I know I’m young (20) and I know she is young (18) but she is my world and at this point in my life I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love her. Can you please help me all I want is to be better for her and be the man I should be and not the boy I was acting like.

  8. I do not understand my husband. He is so inconsiderate when it comes down to me. When we met, he wined and dined me, took me on trip, We went to the movies and the lot. Now that we are married, all he does is wacthsports twenty-four seven. He has children just as I do that were before we got togther. I love everybody, but he makes mesick with the actions that come with his family and children compared to how he is with my children and grand kids. He also has grand kids. He doesn not care about anyone but his daugjther and grandson along with his oldest siater. He discusses any and everything with them. When it comes to communication between us there is a problem. He hides everything from me. I usually fine out things from his sister. Whom I love dearly. He is very selfish, self-centered, rude and ignorant. I now see why his first two marriges did’t workout. He should have never married anyone, because of his stubborn ways and attituide. He has a gift of gab, but is all fake and he fooled me tremendously. I have thought aboutmleaving him and ending this relationship so many times, but my sister-in-law says fight for my marriage, but I often think that it is not worth saving, especially since he doesn’t seem to care one way or another if we stay togther or not. He acts like he’s married to his daughter. He is much more loving and caring to her tham me. I wish she would stay home and away from my home.

  9. Me and my husband have been married for almost 3 years and we have a one year old son. We dated for about 9 mo. And got married before our late deployment. I came back halfway. Through and got out and had our son .well I went to stay with his family for the rest of the year because it was a hard pregnancy which we spoke about .and since then our relationship. Has been on a downward spiral since the baby and we argue about him the being lazyand unreasonable Now we talk (I) till Im blue he does not listen to me calls me crazy and names all the time. Shoots down everything I say and of late has started treating our son less then nice ignoring him and yelling all the time to, the point were he is scared of him. And his manners, hygiene. Are disgusting. Now. I want, need to know what to do should I even save my marriage. Also I am a stay at home mom but I get VA benefits every month and maybe he expects me to be the subservient. Wife that worships him. If so how do I assert myself to him in non aggressive. Manner

  10. This is to Nikki… Broke my heart reading your post… I think you have to first and foremost put the needs of your children first- I really don’t like the fact that you used the word “neglect” when you were describing how your husband treats your oldest daughter- not to mention hes not buying any food to feed his family- to me these are huge signs that you need to make some kind of drastic move in relation to staying with your husband. Do you have the support of your outside family? Maybe they could let you stay with them for a while until you could get on your feet- or provide childcare so you could get a part time job even so you can start building a life for you and your children.
    I feel for you because I myself am pondering the end of my marriage (7 years and 2 daughters) and I know how scary the concept of being alone can be- but from what you have said about your husband it seems to me like your children deserve better- you deserve better- look for support and friends who are there for you- there are people in the world who love you and want to help you- Don’t ever forget how special you are!

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