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JEFF HERRING: 5 ways to rev up your relationship

Even the very best of relationships have their ups and downs. You don't have to be a rocket surgeon or a brain scientist to realize the natural conclusion of that statement is that the downs are going to come to all relationships.

It's what you do during the downs that can make all the difference.

Here are 5 tips for getting to the other side of the downs and revving up your relationship.

Tip 1: Relax -- The best overall advice I have ever heard came from Dr. Sidney Freedman, the Army psychiatrist on the old TV show M(ASTERISK)A(ASTERISK)S(ASTERISK)H. Major Freedman was found of saying "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice." What I think this means for long-term relationships that are in a slump is you need to relax and not panic. Accept this is where you are and take some steps to reconnect and get closer.

Tip 2: Date -- Each other, that is. One of the most common phenomena of long-term relationships is that the couples take each other for granted and stop dating and courting each other. In every single happy long-term relationship I have ever seen, personally or professionally, the couple has a regular date night which they protect like the important event it is.

Tip 3: Get around other couples -- One of the easiest ways for a couple to get in trouble is to be isolated from other couples. Then it is easy to think that you are the only couple in a slump, struggling or even unhappy.

Being around other couples provides you with at least three great advantages:

1. You get to see that all couples struggle and that some struggles are normal.

2. You get to see how other couples solve problems.

3. You get the direct support of other couples.

Tip 4: When were you the closest? -- Remember how I said at the beginning of this article that all relationships, even the best of relationships, have their ups and downs? The mistake many couples make is to focus on what is wrong during the down times. A better strategy is to remember what you were doing during the up times. And here comes a very high level complicated strategy -- once you have identified what you were doing during the good times, do it again! I know that sounds simplistic -- it really does work.

Tip 5: Learn baby learn -- Here is a favorite quote of mine by Eric Hoffer: "In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

We live in a time when there is so much information and so much help available for relationships. Learn. Go to seminars, read good books, hire a relationship to consult occasionally to help you through the rough spots.

The information is out there. The only question is, will you use it?

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