2. Respect Your Partner

It shouldn't matter why your partner needs what he or she needs. Consider Dr. Phil's example: If one of your kids got up in the middle of the night and said, "I'm thirsty," would you just turn around and say, "Well, I'm not, so go back to bed"? The key is to appreciate your partner's individuality. Don't expect your partner to react exactly as you would; your partner isn't you!

Learn more about your partner and understand why he acts the way he does. Listening to your partner can reduce conflict, boost trust and lead to a more satisfying relationship. It's especially important to listen when your partner is upset—which could require some practice. "Practice listening in less-loaded relationships, like with customers at work or friends on the phone," says Dr. Steve Brody, author of Renew Your Marriage at Midlife. "After building up listening muscles in those less-challenging relationships, the weight of your partner becoming unglued won't be as overwhelming."

Step 3: Acknowledge your partner's wants


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