Rules of Healthy Relationships

1. Time out – Establish a time out if the other person is pushing too many buttons. Just say “time out” and everybody stops the argument. 2. No Put Downs – Both parties are not allowed to criticize the other (especially about their families) 3. The Relationship Must Be first – Nothing else comes before the relationship… not family, sports, computers, work…nothing. 4. No Swearing at Each Other – It is supremely disrespectful. 5. No Guilt Provoking – Using guilt creates anger. 6. No Secrets – None! If anyone tells you they have something they want to tell you, but it is a secret, you tell them that they better not tell you unless it is okay for your partner to know. 7. Don’t Bring Up the Past as a Weapon – If you are harboring resentments, talk about them when there is less emotion and it can be discussed calmly. Resentments need to be dealt with or they will make for more distance. The past cannot be changed (it is over). 8. Never Go to Bed Angry – You cannot sleep when you are angry. 9. Play and Have Fun at Least Weekly Together – Mandatory 10. Make Time to Talk Every Other Day – and talk about problems during specific days so you can have fun and meaningful discussions during the other days. 11. In a disagreement Say “This is my perception…” – Never say, “You are…” or this is what ….” Because it can only be confirmed by what the other person says – that makes it your perception. 12. Dealing with Disagreements: a. Don’t begin with “you always” or “you never.” b. Ask each other: How did I (yourself) contribute to the problem and list three ways each of you contributed. c. Discuss the disagreement with as little emotion as possible. d. If it is constantly recurring, play “Let’s Make a Deal: - pick heads or tails and flip a coin. Whoever wins gets their side this time, and the next time it goes to the other one.

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