Last updated on Jun 10th, 2021 at 06:13 pm

You are more than your problems, your partner is more than the negative thoughts you may think about him or her, and your relationship can improve very quickly. Here’s how…

Most healthy relationships are full of friction, in fact friction is par for the course as relationships comprise two individuals who have very different ideas, tastes, preferences, value systems, cultural upbringing, parenting styles and more.

One partner might complain that the other is driving them crazy with all the things they are doing whilst the other may think they are being unreasonable. This is just another example of the negative dance that some couples get into, and if not monitored can lead to break-up or divorce.

If you are able to find a way to like your partner, to find a way to remember that he/she is still the loving, exciting person you married, then many of these “irritating” actions might subside.

The negative dance

The first thing to remind yourself of when your partner is “driving you crazy”, is to accept that this experience is part of being in a committed relationship. Find a way to stretch past your negative emotions and critical thoughts (reactions) – reach out by asking them to sit opposite you so that you can both connect with each other. Sit as close as possible, knees touching/intertwined and hands touching. Don’t say a word for at least five minutes – this may seem uncomfortable or like a deafening silence but it is important.

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Once you are in this space, in your mind remind yourself of all the things that attracted you to this person in the first place. What they mean to you, what they do for you, how they show you they care for and love you in their own silly kind of way (even if it is frustrating for you at times), the happy times you have shared together, the challenging times you have overcome together, being there for each other, supporting each other, etc.

Once you’ve gathered all this information in your mind, start sharing it with your partner. Let each one have a turn reminding the other of all of the above things. Once done, continue to sit there quietly looking at each other and sharing all that is good and positive through your eyes, your knees that are intertwined and your hands that are touching. Feel it in your soul, your thoughts.

Now you might think this is crazy, especially when you are not in a positive space to begin with, but it’s important that you try, stretch yourself to reach out and persevere until this becomes easier each time you need to use this tool.

Most of us let our feelings lead us rather than our intention. However, we all want a better relationship/partner; therefore our intention should be to do what it takes to help create one. That includes not waiting to “feel like being romantic, loving or kind”.

You are more than your problems, your partner is more than the negative thoughts you may think about him or her, and your relationship can improve very quickly. How? When there is friction, APPLY SOME OIL… and infusing your relationship with positive intentions, thoughts and actions is the key (the oil).

Here are five ways to introduce positivity into your relationship:

  1. Bring up topics with your partner that you have never discussed before. Talking about new things helps you share ideas, thoughts and to learn more about each other.
  2. Do an activity that you have never done together before (e.g. dance lessons, cooking class, etc.) – sharing a new experience together helps create positive connection, memories and laughter/fun.
  3. Take turns making arrangements for activities (e.g. date night, going to new places, trying new things, etc.) – you are both equally responsible for keeping your relationship alive and therefore both need to take an interest and make an effort.
  4. Allow each other to be playful and creative (both in and out of the bedroom) – sometimes we just need to let go and be silly for five minutes. Whether it is dancing in the rain, feeding each other, or role playing. It gives us the freedom to express ourselves fully and to feel alive.
  5. Do not place expectations on each other – you’re setting yourself (and the other) up for disappointment.  Agree on your personal and relationship boundaries and live by those as a sign of respect to each other and your relationship. Remember no one can make you happy but they sure can contribute to your happiness.

Your relationship is an adventure there to be lived like the start of each new day – treat it that way and you will see the energy rise in you and in your relationship!

Try my Relationship Evaluation Tool to review your relationship and highlight any areas that you can improve on. This tool can be used to evaluate any kind of relationship not just romantic ones e.g. friendships (you know those ones that seem draining and tiresome), colleagues at work, a supplier or even your job! Get it here.

If you would like a quick call with me to discuss your results from the Relationship Evaluation Tool or something that’s concerning you about your relationship or a situation you are facing right now please don’t hesitate to contact me here. I’ll be happy to assist you with any questions you have.

Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of the self-help guide Embracing Conflict. Paula is also a consultant to the TV show ‘Married at First Sight SA’. She works with individuals and organisations to cultivate healthy relationships in both personal and professional arenas by focusing on real skills and personal growth and development. Go to for more info.