Improving your relationships

We need to work to build good relationships and keep them that way. Key ingredients to healthy relationships include respecting and supporting others and having open and honest conversations.

Being able to speak openly about the way you are feeling and, in turn, listening to your partner, friend or family member can strengthen relationships, reduce relationship anxiety, and help to protect your mental wellbeing.

Some level of arguing between parents is often a normal part of everyday life. This could be around who’s doing the daily chores, how money is being spent or how often you’re spending time at work or with friends. However, there is strong evidence to show that when these arguments and tensions become frequent, intense, and poorly resolved they can have a significant negative impact on children’s outcomes and long-term life chances.

The disagreement itself is not the issue, but how we get our point across and manage this is what really matters, to both our lives and to our children’s.

What do you as a parent/carer need to consider?

Listen to and acknowledge what the other parent has to say.

Have realistic expectations and be flexible – remember you cannot control everything and have everything your own way.

Be clear about what is it that you want to discuss, avoid making any unnecessary comments or gestures. 

Be open and honest about how you are feeling. 

You should not make accusations towards the other parent or report any
accusations towards services if they are not true or necessary. 

Never underestimate the power of an apology (without a ‘but…’).

Take care of yourself.

It is normal for relationships to go through ups and downs. It takes time and effort to keep things vibrant with a partner and there will be times when you feel closer than at others. Making time shows your partner they are your priority, especially when time is at a premium.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Stay up to date and interested in what is happening in your partner’s life.
  • Show appreciation for what your partner does for you or let them know the qualities you admire in them.
  • Respond positively and enthusiastically when your partner asks for your time, attention, or affection.
  • Show that you care through small gestures. A cup of tea or a “How was your day?” can be more meaningful than occasional big gestures.
  • Make time for your partner and carve out time together.
  • Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on when things are tough.
  • Tackle things as a team and be ‘in it together’.
  • Make plans for small treats or time together to stay connected and have things to look forward to.
  • Learn what makes your partner feel cherished. If it’s ‘being helpful’, then notice something that needs doing, like loading the dishwasher, and do it without being asked.

Try the free Relationship MOT quiz

Free Support Services

Stronger Relationships courses offers a free 6-week online course that incorporates both live facilitated group sessions with an experienced parenting team member, as well as set online tasks that can be completed in your own time. The course explores various aspects of everyday interactions, fostering better relationships and improving outcomes for children.

Relation Kit has online relationship support for parents including videos of parents in conflict and how they ‘did things differently’ and mindfulness sessions.

Click has online relationship support from experts and the community, covering issues such as lies and trust, big changes, breakups, parenting together and parenting apart.

Couple support - Care for the Family has online courses for couples, articles, podcasts, and resources.

Toucan together is a free app that helps you strengthen your relationship and make an even more meaningful connection.

Cheshire East Healthy Relationships Team

For further information, support or advice please contact the healthy relationships team at Cheshire East, pop into your local Children’s Centre/Family Hub or call the Family Help Front Door on 0300 123 5012 (option 3, option 1) for an informal discussion.


Cheshire East’s Healthy Relationships Programme does not promote nor endorse the services advertised on this website. Anyone seeking to use/access such services does so at their own risk and should make all appropriate enquiries about fitness for purpose and suitability to meet their needs.

Page last reviewed: 30 March 2024

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