When it comes to having a happy and healthy relationship, there is all kinds of advice out there. Some advice is good, and some not so good.
When it comes to advice, it is important to think about the source. There are relationship “experts” who aren’t “walking their talk”. Unfortunately, some also provide disastrous advice to couples. For example, one of my clients told me about going to a prior counselor who focused solely on boosting her and her partner’s sex life. She quit counseling after the first session because she hated it. The counselor missed a key piece of what was keeping her relationship from blossoming sexually- many women, if they lack emotional intimacy with their partner, will be reluctant to have sex if the emotional connection is missing.
Trusting who/what is a good source can be difficult. Pay attention to your intuition if/when you hire a counselor or coach. There are some great coaches and counselors who are doing good work. My client’s old counselor may have been a good fit for someone else, however it didn’t work for her.
Many counselors and relationship coaches keep current with the latest research on relationships. I love to read up on what helps or hinders relationships. Reading the latest research helps counselors to better help their clients. If a counselor is focused on sex, but the research says that emotional intimacy for many females needs to be established first, then your hard-earned money and time is going to fly out the window. I think though, even with being up on the latest research, that really good coaches and counselors are able to intuitively sense what a client responds to- or they’re checking in with them to see.
Many couples go to counselling when the relationship is in dire need of repair- and many of these couples don’t make it. They waited until it was too late. It’s like expecting your car to run if you don’t take care of the maintenance.
You don’t have to wait until it is too late. I’ll give you 7 different ways to help immunize your relationship from divorce or a break-up.
How can you help your relationship to succeed?
Recent research (Epstein, Robertson, Smith, Vasconcellos, & Lao; 2016)* suggests there are 7 key relationship skills you can use to keep your partnership healthy, loving, and long-lasting.
- Communication. Knowing how to communicate in a healthy way makes a huge difference. This includes listening, keeping a majority of your interactions positive, and being open to sharing what you are thinking and feeling. If you want to read more about healthy communication, I recommend Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and the work of John Gottman at the Gottman Institute.
- Conflict resolution. All couples have conflict. This means knowing how to work through the conflict and learning how to recognize when it may never be resolved.
- Knowledge about your partner. Ask your significant other about their dreams and preferences. Ask them what makes them laugh and what triggers them when they are sad or angry.
- Life skills. These are the skills that concerns life matters like managing the finances, managing your health, and the ability to find work and/or keep the job.
- Managing yourself. This one’s more about self-growth and self-awareness. Do you know your goals and how to achieve them? Do you know your weaknesses? Your strengths?
- Managing stress. Not being able to adequately manage stress wreaks havoc on relationships- and also on the relationship you have with yourself.
- Romance and sexual intimacy. Making intimacy- sexual and emotional- one of the priorities of the relationship and not letting yourself go. Physical attraction, while it may not be the predominant factor of what keeps your relationship together, it is important for many partners.
In the next article, I’ll share what, out of this list, are the most important relationship skills men and women can have that lead to higher levels of satisfaction in the relationship. That means, if you begin to use these skills more often, you’ll have a more loving and healthier relationship for a long, long time. And isn’t that what most people want? To love and be loved? To be seen, appreciated for who you are, and to have the ability to be vulnerable and authentic in one of the most important relationships you will ever have in your life?
Do you need help reigniting the spark in your relationship? Are you bickering, bored, or feeling blue? Relationship coaching can help. Find out your biggest relationship blocks to success, how to resolve them, and how to create a more fulfilling, loving relationship. CONTACT ME TO GET STARTED TODAY
Epstein, R.; Robertson, R. E.; Smith, R.; Vasconcellos, T.; & Lao, M. (2016). Which relationship skills count most? A large-scale replication. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 15(4), 341-356.