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Relationships & Love

The 8 New Relationship Rules Every Couple Should Follow

Want a great love? Then don’t be afraid to:

  1. Rock the Boat. Don’t hold back when something is bothering you because you’re afraid to make waves in your relationship. Think about ways you try to keep things on an even keel and instead, challenge your relationship – it’s the only way to grow stronger as a couple.  If this sparks a fight, don’t shy away from it.
  2. Talk About the Big Stuff Daily. Thriving couples talk about more than what’s for dinner and who’s picking up the kids from practice. They talk about their dreams, their goals, their fears. Talking about the “big stuff” creates a sense of shared purpose. Schedule one non-logistical talk daily, even 5 minutes is enough.
  3. Argue Early and Often. Don’t let fights fester. They only get messier and harder to unpack. Tough honest angry fights are more helpful in the long run than bottling up your upsets. Haven’t had a fight in a week? You’re getting behind. It might be time to . . .
  4. Pick A Fight! Don’t wait for explosions. Picking a fight consciously, when you’re not already in the heat of the moment, can be productive and liberating. Be sure to use the rules of engagement and know what you want to get out of it before you bring it up.
  5. Be Real, Not Careful. Stop editing yourself or sugarcoating your points because you’re afraid of upsetting your partner. If you’re mad, show it. If you need something, ask for it. Be vulnerable, be messy and be yourself, even if that means taking off your kid gloves.
  6. DO Sweat the Small Stuff. Contrary to most relationship advice, you SHOULD sweat the small stuff. Everything matters. Satisfied couples address the bumps in the road rather than creating detours around them.  Deal with the little problems before they become more complex.
  7. Keep Your Standards High. Don’t settle for less because you don’t want to be disappointed.  Expect a lot from your partner and your relationship. Sure, high standards can spark disagreements, but they also push the relationship forward rather than allowing it to languish.
  8. Follow The Highest Denominator. The happiest couples share power and decision making. Recognize each other’s superior competence in certain areas and defer accordingly. Having a fight about chores, money or how to accomplish something?  Assess who has the higher standard or is more skilled in this area and follow the highest denominator.

Chicago-based Marriage & Relationship Experts, Drs. Bob & Judith Wright, are the co-authors of the new book, “The Heart of the Fight” (New Harbinger Press, 2016). Longtime media favorites, Dr. Judith has been called the “World’s Ultimate Expert” by Woman’s World Magazine, Dr. Bob is a communication columnist for, and they’ve been interviewed by Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, Fox News, appeared in Marie Claire, Fitness Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, Shape and more.  

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