Repair Relationship
All relationships go through some rough patches, and there may be instances when it feels like you’ve reached the point of no return. However, every healthy relationship undergoes painful episodes, including quarrels or full-blown screaming matches, being mean to each other, and periods of stony silence.

Renowned relationships researcher Dr John Gottman refers to four communication styles that can wreak havoc on the relationships of even the happiest of couples. He calls them “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” namely, criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

These are labels for similar relationship problems and experiences, and there are ways by which you and your partner can avoid them, or at the very least confront them head-on. Perhaps you already have your own repair checklist or methods of dealing with your problems, but there are tried and tested ways of ensuring your relationship conflicts don’t spiral out of control.

To help keep your relationship on track, consider the following six tips to repair conflicts:

1. Talk to each other

It may seem cliché, but it’s true: Communication matters — especially in relationships. The moment a couple stops talking, then the real trouble begins. It’s OK to argue, get angry, say hurtful things, and become mean and critical. However, when you stop talking altogether, or when you feel like there’s nothing left to say, your relationship problem is sinking to a whole new level.

Repairing a relationship that’s temporarily shaken requires communication, whether it’s done through humour, apologising, explaining, or some other attempt. You or your partner don't have to mend things right after a quarrel. However, make sure to keep the communication lines open. If you’re not ready to talk or take a joke, let your partner know so they can give you the time you need.

2. Touch

Show your care and compassion through touch. It’s a great way to renew or reestablish your connection with one another. You don’t need to hug or kiss right away. Something as simple as holding the other’s hand or forearm can help you reconnect.

A gentle hug and a pat on the shoulder or back can indicate your support and concern. These simple acts of touching show that you’re there. Maybe your relationship can feel a little frosty at times, but these actions convey how you care for your partner.

3. Have fun together

Your sense of fun and adventure isn't just for those early days when you’re still exploring your relationship and discovering new things about each other.

Maybe you don’t have the same hobbies and interests, but you still need to find common ground. Try to be present for each other. Be there for your partner’s poetry reading, just as they were there during your failed attempt to become a rock musician. Learn to laugh at yourselves and with each other, too.

4. Say the magic words

Actions indeed speak louder than words — but words also matter.

Say “I love you” when you feel like it. When you utter these words, you’re reaffirming your love and devotion to your partner. You’re telling them that even after all these years, after all the ups and downs, you still love them, perhaps even more than at the beginning of your relationship.

Other magic words to use are “thank you” and “sorry” — and always make sure you mean what you say.

5. Look each other in the eye

Do you remember the first time you realised you love your partner? Didn’t you look them in the eye and tell them you love them?

Perhaps you remember those times when one look from your partner is enough to tell you exactly what they feel or what’s on their mind. That’s how powerful eye contact is, especially in relationships.

During fights, couples stop looking at each other. The same also happens when a romantic relationship matures, and everything becomes routine. You stop seeing each other even when you’re together.

You can avoid this by making time to really see each other. Look each other in the eye so you’ll realise you have someone you love and cherish, and who feels the same way about you.

6. Reaffirm your commitment together

No, you don't need another wedding ceremony or a renewal of vows, although you’re welcome to do that, too, as a sign of your commitment. You can keep your relationship solid and show your commitment every day by:

Matching your thoughts, words, and actions: Think of ways to make your partner happy. Say the magic words and show them how you feel. Go on a weekend trip, buy them flowers, or take them to their favourite haunt. Make every moment count.

Practising empathy: Try to see things from your partner's perspective. Be willing to listen and give a shoulder to cry on or a hug to comfort them when they need you to just be there.

Starting a relationship is easy, but keeping it going for the long haul is the challenge.

Hopefully, with these tips, you and your partner can prevent or quickly resolve conflicts, no matter how big or small, and enjoy being in a healthy, loving, committed relationship.