Valentine's Day is upon us, bringing with it flowers, chocolate and many romantic sentiments. But if a couple is not feeling particularly amorous, the annual holiday celebrating love and affection may not be appealing.
"Keeping the love in a relationship is about understanding who the other partner is and working extremely hard to keep the lines of communication open," says Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.Klapow says a relationship is doomed if the communication is not there. And with the National Center for Health Statistics
reporting that an average of 47.9 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, it may be time to start talking.
"Very often it's the little things, the daily hassles and decisions that couples need to make that lead to bigger problems; learning to make decisions together is critical for the survival of your relationship," Klapow says.
Klapow recommends these five SMART steps for making decisions together:
- Set a specific goal
"What do each of you want? Make sure you are very specific. Eating dinner out is not a specific goal. Going to a restaurant where you can get a steak, your partner can get grilled shrimp and you both can relax in a quiet booth is specific. The more specific you are the better."