Is Your Relationship in Trouble?
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, healthy couples’ math is 1+1=2 which means one happy, healthy person plus another contented, well 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, “Personality Strengths: Gain Self-Knowledge by learning your Unique Gifts” which will post in Mid 2016. 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, “Value Definition can Focus your Life!” and “Priorities: Define your Top 5 ” to be posted in mid-2016. 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, the 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. He provides the home and makes money to pay for the events. I plan them and make them happen. 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 belief is untrue and unrealistic. Relationships/Marriages are all about learning about each other and finding ways to assimilate (accommodate) respectfully to 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 understand really 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, “Effective Communication: A Key Life Skill” and “Miscommunication: Mistake Prevention“
#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 has your own habits, beliefs, and behaviors. There are going to be many times they do not coincide( work together). 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. I organize the running of the house and our activities and my husband normally flows with the plans. 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’, “Conflict Resolution: Tangible Tips” and coming up in just a week, I will post, ” Win/Win Solutions: Top skill for Productive Conflict Outcomes”.
For more information, check out other articles posted at Supportive Talk or follow the Amazon links below for, “The Relationship Cure”. By John Gottman or “Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship Saving Truths”. By Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt.
We will continue learning healthy ways to improve your relationship in Part 2 in this series.