As grown folks, there are certain life lessons we should have learned by now especially when it comes to relationships. True, relationships do come with their own unique set of ups and downs but there are certain things you should avoid doing in order to maintain happiness and peace of mind in your union.

Never stop focusing on your partner’s positive characteristics. We all have faults! Even bad qualities like being arrogant or impulsive might still have strong energies attached to them. Keep yourself from slipping into a place of negativity and shift your focus onto what is positive about your partner. Take notice of what you can appreciate about them; what you find good, useful and admirable. The urge to go into a negative place is strong, so resist, and you’ll probably find more positives about them than you expected.

Stop holding grudges.  It’s so easy to throw past failures back at your mate when they upset you. If there is an ongoing issue that needs to be dealt with, then go at it, but if a past issue has been resolved you really need to let it die and not a slow death! No one likes their mistakes to be constantly thrown in their face.

Don’t make your partner responsible for your happiness. Many couples come to hold their partner responsible for their happiness which leads to demands, complaints, and a sense of powerlessness. You should see your partner as an entirely separate individual who matters to you, but is independent of you. As a couple, spur each other to engage in pursuits that really express who each of you are as individuals. Encourage each other to pursue separate interests because when you do, you can support each other’s unique goals and capabilities. When we give another person space, regard, and respect, we actually draw that person closer to us.

Refrain from sharing your relationship woes with the world! Many couples are guilty of not understanding the value of keeping their relationship just between themselves. Discussing your relationship woes with everyone can have disastrous consequences.   One problem with confiding in friends about your relationship problems is that you often give them a very one-sided account of the situation — and thus get a skewed response. Talk to each other and if you can’t iron things out, then speak to a counselor.

Don’t stop having sex. For some couples, sex can become predictable and ho-hum after many years with the same person. It is pretty easy for some couples to move into a comfortable feeling of being best friends and to lose their sexual passion for one another. When you see this coming down the pike, address it pronto! Make a plan to initiate sex regularly. Not being interested in sex week after week can easily put you in a rut. Introduce new positions, locations or even sex toys you can try and have some fun with.

Never resent your partner’s successes. When you love someone, you should only wish happiness for them which means celebrating their successes or wins. Whether it is a new job, promotion, or sports victory, your reactions, and actions will either bring you closer or drive a wedge between you.  Your partner’s success in no way diminishes you. Choose to not go to that pitiful place of envy.

Don’t stop asking your partner, “How was your day?”  If you have stopped asking a loved one about their day, if this ritual fell off your radar, bring it back! Couples who discuss the events of their day with one another heighten feelings of intimacy and makes folks feel more connected.

Don’t tune out when your partner is trying to converse with you. Make sure you are open to listening when your partner wants to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Don’t sigh, look at your phone, or say you don’t have time. Instead, encourage your partner’s disclosures, be engaged, be validating, and finally, be caring as a way to support your partner and get closer to them. Their disclosures might be something small and silly to you, but it might be really meaningful to them.

If you’re married, NEVER drop the ‘D’ bomb! According to marriage experts, thoughts of divorce are quite common as a couple’s relationship ebbs and flows throughout the years. However, thinking about divorce and actually saying it out loud are two very different things. When you bring up the ‘D-word,’ divorce, you threaten the relationship’s security and create distrust. Unless you are genuinely considering divorce, blurting the word out, puts it right on the table.

Never take the words, “I love you” for granted. The three words, I love you, should always be special no matter how long you’ve been in a relationship. Keep this quote in mind…“Never take someone for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.” Nough said….