Building Successful Relationships: How to Help a Troubled Relationship… …or Make a Good One Better

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Like many busy professional couples, Jay and Georgia had drifted apart and almost lived in separate worlds. Nevertheless, they clearly cared for one another and needed to implement a direct and effective formula that would revive and nourish their marriage.


As practicing psychologists we are often consulted by distressed couples or other people who are having various relationship difficulties.

Would you like to get your relationship back on track, or perhaps to keep life moving along more smoothly in a relatively trouble free relationship? In this segment, we’re going to share with you four actions that you can take. While much of what we present here concerns marriages in particular, these same methods can be successfully applied to just about any intimate relationship.

Marital problems often stem from a decline of friendship within a marriage. Of course, there is an enormous variety of marital problems and any generalizations must be limited, but when partners lose their friendship, a downward spiral of marital unhappiness is almost certain to follow.

So, what can be done to nourish or revive the friendship in your marriage?

• Compliment your partner frequently.Make a habit of saying something complimentary at least once a day.

• Express appreciation to your partner whenever he or she does something that pleases you.

• Make it a habit to do something thoughtful for your partner on a regular basis.

• Spend time together in mutually enjoyable activities.These kindnesses can be small but important things such as doing an extra chore around the house, or giving your partner an unexpected flower, or an inexpensive gift. After all, having a good time together is the very cornerstone of friendship — and happy marriages.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on