We have schedules to change the oil in our cars and the batteries in our smoke alarms, but rarely do we take the time to assess the state of our primary relationships. The start of a new year is as good a time as any to take a few minutes and check how your relationship is doing.

Start with a short quiz, adapted from the Brief Accessibility-Responsiveness-Engagement (BARE) rating scale. Rate your relationship with you partner (Almost never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often, Almost always) on the following dimensions:

1. My partner is available to me.

2. I can get my partner’s attention when I want it.

3. My partner listens when I share my deepest feelings.

4. I can reach out to my partner when I need him or her.

5. It is easy to confide in my partner.

6. I feel close and engaged with my partner.

If your answers tend toward Almost Never or Seldom, you may want to think about whether you want to keep going down the road you are on or are ready to make a change. In my practice, I offer three options for couples wanting to make a change:

1. Relationship Enhancement Workshops

These one-day workshops are designed to help all couples – from those who just want a minor “tune up” to those in serious distress – begin on a path toward greater warmth, love, and connection. Couples learn how to better understand and respond to their partners’ needs for love and support, and practice new ways of interacting with the help of trained therapists. The class is conducted in a supportive atmosphere and all exercises are practiced privately. My next couples workshop takes place on Sunday, April 2nd, in Langhorne, PA.

2. Couples Therapy

If there are significant barriers to making progress, or you are dealing with a major issue such as a betrayal, an infidelity, or a long-term lack of connection, couples therapy may be the right next step for you. Be sure to choose a therapist who has specialized training in working with couples. In my practice, I use a model called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which studies demonstrate has the best track record for restoring relationships to health and keeping them that way.

3. Discernment Counseling

Sometimes one or both partners are unsure they have the energy and motivation to continue working on their relationship and feel stuck in an unpleasant limbo. Or they may have serious doubts about whether the relationship can improve and so hesitate to commit to ongoing therapy. For these couples, I offer a new, brief approach called Discernment Counseling, specially designed for couples who are on the brink of separating or who disagree about the right next step. With one to five sessions of Discernment Counseling, most couples come to a decision about what path they want to take, while gaining a deeper understanding of how their relationship went off track.

Finally, if you are ready for change but your partner is unwilling to engage in any of these alternatives, you may want to seek out therapy for yourself. I recommend choosing a therapist who is trained in both couples therapy and individual therapy. A therapist who understands couples dynamics will be in the best position to help you understand your partner’s reluctance, communicate more effectively with your partner, and make the best decisions for yourself and your relationship.