When it comes to your relationship, are you cheap with the praise and abundant with the criticism? Relationship expert Dr. Alduan Tartt, Ph.D. says, this Valentine's Day, make a pledge to stop putting your love life on the dollar menu!

"Love and appreciation are free, so why not give lot of it?," asks Dr. Tartt, a psychologist, minister and author in the new online course he instructs, Fix My Marriage.

Here's more on what Dr. Tartt says are marriage and relationship busters to look out for:

Marriage Buster No. 1: Making our partners the "One Stop Shop"

Dr. Tartt explains: Our expectations of marriage have changed compared to our parents. We want our spouses to fill the roles that we used to divide among friends. We now want our spouses to be a “one-stop shop” for all of our needs (life coach, financial partner, more equitable co-parenting, best friend, sex partner, etc.).

Thus, the need to make relationships and marriage work is stressful because everything rides on it.

Marriage Buster No. 2: Social media

Dr. Tartt explains: We already work too much and have to meet the demands of raising children, parents, etc. So, the need for quality time with our better halves is at an all time high.

Our relationships need oxygen to survive just like the body does. However, we use social media and streaming services to entertain ourselves, which directly competes with paying attention to our spouses.

As a result, many couples are oxygen deprived for emotional intimacy, quality time, attention and fun.

In fact, research indicates that the average amount of friends we have has dropped from three to two because we do not connect with them in person anymore. We believe that liking their posts or texting is an equal substitute for talking and spending quality time together. It’s not.

Likewise, we are ignoring our spouses even while in the same bed and it is KILLING relationship quality. Couples know their relationships are on 911, but don’t know how to get off of life support.

Couples should remember that the words "relationship" and "marriage" are verbs, too, and not just a noun.

What you did to first connect, grow and thrive is what you must do to get that loving bond back and sustain it. Couples must date. No exceptions. Dating is the oxygen that love needs to survive.

Marriage Buster No. 3: Ignoring the Problem

Dr. Tartt explains: So, I have three interventions for couples to make their relationships and marriages feel better during Valentine’s season:

  1. Appreciate—Say, "I appreciate you, baby" to build 5:1 ratio of positive to negatives. We are quick to complain but too slow to appreciate. This builds oxygen for the relationships
  2. Connect—Ask your spouse deep questions to get into the heart, mind and soul of his/her life. We are “starving” for emotional attention, which is why social media likes are so addictive. We really need that attention from our spouse. Couples should ask “open-ended” questions (How do you feel about your career right now? What is your next goal?, etc.) versus closed or mundane ones (e.g., Did you pick up the dry cleaning? What time do you get off tomorrow?, etc.)
  3. Touch—Increase physical intimacy and celebrate your successes together! Men require 6x more physical touch than women. Women talk to connect while men need to “feel” connected to talk and feel loved.

Marriage Buster No. 4: Thinking it Should Be Easy

Dr. Tartt explains: Couples need a guide to show them how to strengthen and fix themselves. I want to help!

I teach an online course for couples who wish to strengthen their marriages, learn these skills or get out of a stressful point in their relationships called the “Fix My Marriage System”.

Visit: www.fixmymarriagesystem.com or text TARTT to 22828 for more information.

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