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Relationship tips for the new year

Whether you're the type to make resolutions or not, we've got some relationship advice that comes in handy any season of the year.

The Rev. Katie Stickney, MA, LMHCA, an ordained deacon serving as a mental health professional in Seattle has these tips on building healthy relationships:

Be kind every day. While grand romantic gestures can be nice, it is in the everyday kindnesses that a relationship is strengthened. Look for ways to show your partner you love them, and be on the lookout so that you don't miss the small things they are doing for you.
Build your friendship first. Conflict and difficulty is inevitable in any relationship, especially during times of major transition (new baby or child leaving for college, change in employment status, medical diagnosis, etc.). In order to build a strong relationship to withstand external stressors, build up your friendship during the stable times. There are always new things to learn about our partners, so ask them questions about their life before you met and about their hopes for the future. Regularly schedule dates together. Set aside a little time (10-15 minutes) every day to put away your phone, turn off the TV, and talk to each other about your day or anything else that comes up. is in the everyday kindnesses that a relationship is strengthened.

 You were a couple before you had kids. If you have kids, couple time is even more important. It's crucial to the health of your couple relationship, and you are worth it. Your kids will be happier if they see that their parents have a strong relationship that doesn't always include them, and it will show them how to have a healthy relationship with good boundaries when they are older.
Seek help early. When issues arise, don't be afraid to seek out couples counseling. In my experience, the earlier a problem is addressed the more likely the relationship is to come out stronger for it. If you seek help early, you are more likely to solve the problem or at least find a way to cope, with grace and humor, with a problem that will be ongoing. If you're still hesitant about seeing a counselor, think about who else you might be able to talk to: a mentor, trusted family member, pastor, older couple, etc.
So there you have it. What other tips do you have to add?


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