Honor the differences between you and your partner. Talk about the unique ways in which you see the world, how each of you reacts differently in certain situations, how your partnership is made stronger by acknowledging your individual but complementary skills and talents.

A strong intimate life with another person does not exclude or ignore differences. It does not pretend that two people are exactly alike, or that the parts of them that are different should be ignored so nobody is "wrong." A true partnership accepts differences. It is mature enough to recognize that no two people are the same, with identical tastes and inclinations, and that if you would rather get up at dawn, put on your sweats, and run while your partner sleeps, it doesn't make you neurotic or your partner lazy. Both you and your relationship are large enough and strong enough to accommodate this.

Does your partner occasionally leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, whereas you insist on cleaning the kitchen before going to bed? Talk about this. Explain to him or her how it makes you feel to see that things are not put away, but also listen to your partner's side, how he or she considers it obsessive never to break a pattern. Fashion a compromise. Make minor adjustments. Sometimes the slightest course correction can mean the difference between a relationship that endures and one that doesn't.

Alan Epstein in How to Have More Love in Your Life