A few of the most important things I’ve learned in the past year are:
1. Cultivate a relationship where all feelings can be expressed openly, especially if they’re tough to hear.
2. Make your appreciation clear frequently by both your words and your actions.
3. Be respectful in disagreements by clearly stating that you are feeling like you might say things you don’t mean and by establishing appropriate ground rules. For us, it’s that neither of us are allowed to hang up, leave, or ask the other person to leave out of anger.
4. Don’t be afraid to walk away, and allow things to simmer down.
5. It’s basic but fundamental: listening, perspective-taking, and compromise are crucial.