If you feel like you're headed for relationship breakdown, you might be looking at "what" and not "why". Here are some tips on finding the cause and fixing it.

When you're in a relationship, you can never afford to put it on auto-pilot. In an era where 42 percent of all marriages are ending in divorce, it's important to avoid a relationship breakdown. 

Whether you're dating, living together or married, a relationship requires you to constantly learn about each other and keep things in order. There are some traps that all couples fall into if they're not careful. 

In the tips below, you'll be able to deal with your relationship issues as they come along so that you can avoid a relationship collapse.

1: Avoid Relationship Breakdown via Counselling

Never underestimate how important counselling is for your relationship. Speaking to a third party will help you hash out problems so that it never gets to the relationship breakdown point. 

The problem with relationship counselling is that most people wait until the issue is at crisis levels to get help. 

It doesn't hurt to see a relationship counsellor during times of peace so that you can find the strategies in a level-headed manner that will help you both. Relationship counselling might vary in cost for each session, but you may find this worthwhile. 

Making this investment can help your relationship prosper and avoid a far more expensive divorce.

2: Learn Effective Communication Skills

It's amazing how many arguments can be boiled down to miscommunication. 

You can avoid relationship breakdown by learning to get your point across without emotional attachment either way. 

For instance, you can enforce a personal boundary or get a point across without accusing or shaming. Likewise, when your partner has a criticism, it's important to hear it out without immediately defending yourself. 

This two-way street of communication keeps small problems small and cuts out plenty of misunderstandings. 

When apologising, make sure to acknowledge the wrong without making excuses for it. 

3: Become the Best Version of Yourself

A big problem with relationships is that self-development stops when people become comfortable. 

Think about it -- when you were single, you were responsible for your own entertainment, growth, and curiosity. Too many times, people get together and then hold the other person accountable for meeting those needs. 

It is important to come together as the best you, rather than creating co-dependency. 

Self-reflection is essential if you want to remain the best version of yourself. Take the time to figure out what makes you happy, take care of your health and nutrition and always carve out some alone time. 

This way, spending time with each other will be burden free and you'll appreciate each other more. 

4: Stock up on Some Worthwhile Relationship Literature

There's never a time where you can stop learning about your relationship. 

Open communication with your partner is the main way to learn, but there are countless books that will help you always stay on the ball in your relationship.

For instance, Way of the Superior Man by David Deida is essential reading for people wanting to explore masculine and feminine dynamics. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel breaks down monogamy as a whole. 

Load up your device with eBooks and audiobooks, so that you can stay sharp with your relationship knowledge. 

5: Never Put Sex on the Back Burner

They say that sex is a small part of the relationship when it's good and the elephant in the room when it's bad. 

Human beings are sexual by nature, so when sex isn't great or is non-existent, it's usually nothing that connection and communication can't fix. 

So first things first, speak up if you have any issues in the bedroom. You might think you're sparing feelings, but letting these issues fester isn't fair to either one of you. When you bury sex, you're sitting on a relationship breakdown landmine. 

Grab a glass of wine and have some open and honest sex conversations. Don't shy away from studying up on positions and foreplay, so that you're able to keep the spark alive. 

6: Proactively Find New Experiences

If your relationship is dull, it means that the two of you aren't having enough new experiences. 

While going to work and coming home to TV is comfortable, it's not very exciting. Set a date night once per week and make a pact to do something new for each date. 

You might consider joint activities, working out together and finding a new set of friends as well. The more activity you add to your life, the less likely you'll get tired of being around each other. 

7: Take Time out to Enjoy Each Other's Company

Nothing recharges a relationship like a romantic getaway. When you get out of your everyday scenery, you'll find the space to enjoy life and reconnect. 

Make sure that you choose hotel or resort accommodations that pamper the two of you. Research the area to know what sights and sounds you'll be able to enjoy as you fall in love all over again. 

There are a few beach destinations you'll want to consider when planning a romantic getaway. 

Some go-to beach favourites include Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Cancun. You might also want to research beach destinations in Thailand, the Philippines, and Scotland. 

You can't go wrong with a beach holiday because you'll be able to commune with nature and enjoy some drinks and relaxation. 

8: Keep Your Job and Money Situations in Order

Money can drive a wedge that kills a relationship, whether you're married or not. 

When you're married, a lack of money can create a serious relationship breakdown, due to the stress of survival. If you're still dating, money and jobs can become an issue if one of you is working all the time or moving to take a new position. 

Let your partner know your career goals and always come up with plans to help each other keep finances under control. This way, you're putting money it its place, instead of letting the problems run wild. 

Wash, Rinse and Repeat These Tips

A relationship is a walk of life, so you're going to fall short from time to time. 

Following these eight tips will help you avoid relationship breakdown by understanding each other and keeping your finger on the pulse of things. Always address your issues head on and revisit these tips to be sure you're giving it your best shot.

If you'd like to surprise your sweetheart with a special gift, shop around until you find a jewellery piece or keepsake that they'll love.

I would love to hear your comments or answer any questions you might have about this post.

Yours sincerely,   

Dr. Carissa Coulston, Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MPsychol(Clinical), PhD, MAPS