Helping your relationship

Ultimately you can only be responsible for yourself and for your own happiness.

Some quick communication tips and ideas on strengthening your relationship.

A lot of people think communication is about just talking but every effective communicator knows the skill of ‘active listening’. It is ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ because the listener works at grasping what the speaker is feeling and attempts to help him express those feelings. This can be extremely difficult especially when we hear criticism. The usual response is to ignore or interrupt and correct the speaker. Active listening gives a message of acceptance and worth to the speaker.

Active listening means

  • Listening to both words and feelings
  • Responding to feelings without attack or defense
  • Giving feedback e.g. Stating what you have heard with empathy and enquiring further if needing more information.

Be clear in your communication
“I” messages are a clear, non-judgmental and non-blaming way of expressing yourself. It is a four-part message that enables the speaker to take responsibility for his or her wanted outcomes.

  • BEHAVIOUR – “When”
  • EMOTION – “I feel”
  • IMPACT – “because”
  • WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE – “and I would like …”

Example –
Girlfriend greets boyfriend who is an hour late
“When I don’t know where you are …”

  • “I feel anxious”
  • “because I’m afraid something has happened to you”
  • “I would really like you to call my mobile if you can next time”

Look for win-win situations
If you want to go to a club and he wants to go to a hotel, find out why. You might want to go to the club to dance, he might want to see friends. A win/win situation would be to invite his friends to the club.

  • To love another is to be accepting of the other. However it does not mean accepting what is intolerable. Know what is physical and emotional abuse
  • Work on your self-esteem. It is critical that you both have a healthy understanding of your own needs and expectations before someone else can help meet them
  • Keep giving to each other – that’s what keeps relationships alive. Don’t take each other for granted
  • Compatibility is important. Unless you’re both compatible intellectually and share the same interests and life goals, you may be on shaky ground
  • Remember you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness. You may be happier together than apart but, ultimately, you can only be responsible for yourself and your own happiness
  • Don’t instantly blame yourself for your partner’s bad moods. Health, work and family count alongside relationships and can influence our moods and reactions
  • It is important for either partner to be able to acknowledge when at fault or causing hurt to the other
  • Remember forgiveness is an important part of any relationship!

These are only general suggestions. You should always seek outside help if you are unsure what to do.

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