Techniques to Improve and Restore your Relationship or Marriage
5 Effective Methods to Healthy and Successful Relationships
The 5 Principles are:
- Learn and Understand Yourself and Your Partner
- Discover Healthy Communication Skills
- Improve Conflict Negotiation Capabilities
- Acquire Methods of Compromise (Win/Win Solutions)
- Develop a Healthy and Intimate Connection
1 Learn and Understand Yourself and Your Partner
Accept that you and your partner are two unique individuals. A healthy relationship or marriage is a respectful blending of your two distinctive personalities. Some people believe that 0+1=2 meaning I need my partner to fill my needs and make me feel whole, happy and worthwhile. But that math is illogical and you end up with the wrong solution. Instead, heathy couples’ math is 1+1=2 which means one happy, healthy person plus another contented, healthy person equals a blissful, healthy relationship.
Personality assessments are a key tool.
After 20 years of counseling, I encourage my clients to take a personality assessment so they can put concrete words to their persona. You will also understand the distinctive details of your partner’s inner self. To get this info, you can read a book on personalities, research it on the web or read my article, “Gain Self-Knowledge by learning your Unique Personality Strengths”. (find at www.supportivetalk.com under Personal Growth) Once you have defined yourself and your partner’s gifts, then you can compare and contrast what is similar and contradictory about your personalities. This knowledge will give you insight into each other. Thus, you can take a look at ways you are different and work out respectful paths to blend these differences. In my case, I have a strong need to “nest” and make my home comfortable. My husband is ambitious and career oriented. The way in which we have intermingled these two traits is he is the major provider and I have a flexible career that allows me to make my home a priority.
Defining Values and Priorities.
Again, you can research these topic’s to find your answers or you can read my articles, “Define your Values, Focus your Life!” and “How Defining your Top 5 Priorities in Life can really HELP You!” (Find at www.supportivetalk.com under Personal Growth) By describing your top 5 values and priorities and learning your partner’s top of the list, you can gain insight into the motivations behind feelings, thoughts, actions and decisions. It thus becomes clearer when you and your partner cross ways what is behind the problem and enables both sides to have clarity of the fundamental differences of opinion. Therefore, it should help people find a way to work out their dissimilarities. As a personal example, My family is a top value for both my husband and I. But I feel that relationships, the home, and events are important whereas my husband is more focused on being a provider. Another private illustration would be that spirituality is a priority for me. Even though it does not make my husband’s top 5, he has always allowed me the freedom to express and pursue this side of myself. Unfortunately, so many couples have an unconscious belief that because their partner loves and cares for them, they should also feel just like each other or at least totally understand the opposite partner. This is untrue and unrealistic. Relationships/Marriages are all about learning about each other and finding ways to respectfully assimilate each other’s personality beliefs into the partnership.
2. Discover Healthy Communication Skills:
One key ingredient to a healthy marriage/partnership is the ability to express yourself accurately and listen to what your partner has to say. Frequently, people make the mistake of assuming what their partner is thinking/feeling or incorrectly grasping the meaning of the communication. Learning to really understand what another person is trying to tell you and being able to convey yourself precisely is the keys behind good communication skills. There are a variety of good workshops, books or websites to learn this vital ability or you can read my articles, “A Key Life Skill: Effective Communication” and “Gaining a deeper Understanding into Miscommunication Mistakes” by Vicki Langemo, LPC, MA. (find at www.supportivetalk.com under communication).
3. Improve Conflict Negotiation Capabilities:
In a healthy partnership, the goal is to blend two distinct personalities in a respectful manner. This is easier said than done. Each of you have your own habits, beliefs,and behaviors. There are going to be many times they do not coincide. When disagreements do occur, it is important to be able to use effective conflict negotiation tactics to work through the differences. Conflict is a natural part of a companionship. It is a fantasy to believe that you will find your “soul mate” and this in turn, means you will match in every aspect. In fact, having a variety of strengths can bring more into the marriage. Using a personal example, I am very organized and my husband is more flexible. These attributes often complement each other. Working out problems in a partnership starts with understanding the key issues and discussing them to a successful conclusion. Some key points are staying respectful, taking turns talking and working on finding Win/Win solutions (positive resolutions for both sides). If you would like more information on this subject, I would encourage you to read my expose’, “Tangible Tips for Conflict Resolution”. (find at www.supportivetalk.com under communication)
4. Acquire Methods of Compromise (Win/Win Solutions):
What is a Win/Win Solution? A Win/Win answer is a healthy and respectful resolution to friction between two parties. Finding a solution that endeavors to find a result in a way that respects the wants and needs of both sides. It is also a clarification of how problems will be handle in the future. Win/Win solution are the result of positive and healthy conflict negotiation skills. In an argument, both sides need to focus on finding a Win/Win solution. This conclusion should be dependent on each person’s wants or needs so they feel respected in the solution and negotiation process. People often desire a victorious finish for their side. But winning means that someone has been defeated. The loser will often hold onto Hidden Resentments against the winner. Hidden resentments are anger, animosity, annoyance, bitterness or exasperated feelings over a result in a disagreement. People tend to think if they have won an argument…..they are totally victorious! That is untrue especially in a long-term or important relationship. If the other side feels cheated, disrespected or unhappy about the outcome, deep down they will develop hidden resentments. These deep feelings come out in all kinds of negative ways in a relationship. The “injured” party may pull away, become cool towards the other, be sarcastic, less interested in the relationship, they may yell cry more, demand more, be less involved, become less helpful, be more critical, gossip about the other or become more secretive etc. So there is no Winning in a relationship if the other person feels they have Lost. It may not catch up with you right away but over the course of time, the relationship becomes unhappy and unhealthy. Therefore, when there are conflicts, two parties should use conflict negotiation skills and come up with Win/Win solutions. So when two parties have an argument, they look for positive solutions that work for both sides. To get a better idea about how to find Win/Win Solutions, check out my article called, “The TOP Skill for productive Conflict Outcomes is Win/Win Solutions”.
5. Develop a Healthy and Intimate Connection:
Make your relationship a priority. Continue to work on it even after it is comfortable so it stays vibrant and alive. You can have a beautiful garden but if you leave it unattended it will turn to weeds and slowly die.
Partners need time with each other in order to keep the relationship strong. To encourage this process, plan regular date nights, weekend activities, a few minutes sitting outside with a favorite drink, snuggle time and an occasional getaway. Take time to have daily conversations that share your life and interests. Couples thrive when they spend time doing mutual activities or sharing similar pursuits.
Respect is a key
Research has shown that nothing can damage a relationship quicker than criticisms and put-downs so show each other respect and throw in a few sweet nothings. Regular respect will do a lot to strengthen the bond between two partners. Paying your significant other a compliment is an easy and quick way to show him/her respect and kindness. A spiritual connection can help a couple grow closer. It can be something conventional like a church, mosque or synagogue or it can be as simple as meditation, being in nature or having a deep conversation. Part of respect is acceptance of your partner’s personality and flaws. Make the relationship a safe one by understanding a person can make a mistake and will need forgiveness if requested. Another way to create a safe environment is allowing your partner to express their feelings without the fear of being judged or not taken seriously.
Finally, build a strong foundation by complimenting and expressing love for one another on a regular basis. This can be as simple as in the movie, “Ghost” when she says “Ditto” to his expressions of love. You fell in love with each other for a specific reason. Now, remind each other, frequently, how special each of you are!
If you would like to book a conversation with me about relationships, go to www.suportivetalk.com
For more information, check out Vicki’s website at www.suportivetalk.com or read, “The Relationship Cure”. By John Gottman or “Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship Saving Truths”. By Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt.