In the last article, 7 Reasons Why Your Relationship Might Not Make It, I wrote about the 7 relationship skills that have a tremendous impact on your relationship. Here’s a recap:
- 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.*
When you read this list, think about the couples who have been together for decades- they’ve incorporated these skills into their daily lives with their partners. Through work, stress, family, illness, and other challenges; they use these 7 relationship skills regularly.
These skills are the glue that helps couples stay together through the good times and bad.
Some people may know these skills intuitively. Maybe they had parents who had good marriages or knew of other people they used as healthy role models.
Most of what people learn about relationships, they learn from their parents. That can be challenging if your parents did not have a loving, healthy relationship.
Some people go to counseling or to a marriage prep class and learn relationship skills there. Many people however, do not learn these important relationship skills and their relationships suffer as a result. Imagine how the quality of life would change in a relationship, if both partners knew how to resolve conflict in a respectful and loving way. Or, imagine if you felt your partner really listened to you and asked you questions about your self, your preferences and your dreams for the future.
People dream of being in a loving relationship and then when they are in one for awhile, they begin to take their partners for granted. They get busy or bored, and the priority of their relationship plummets to the bottom of the to-do list.
Looking over the list again at the top of the page, out of the 7 there are 2 relationship skills that are the most important when it comes to feeling immensely satisfied in your relationship.
The two most important relationship skills you can have are:
- knowledge about your partner
According to the study, if you and your partner are good in these areas, then you’ll have a higher quality relationship than those couples who lack these vital skills.
How can you improve your communication skills and knowledge about your partner?
As I mentioned earlier, I recommend Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication to learn more about effective and healthy communication.
Knowledge about your partner? Ask your partner questions you would want them to ask you. Get curious. What was their favorite childhood toy? Favorite childhood memory? What are their dreams? Their fears? What’s their ideal vacation spot? Show you are interested in them and they are important to you. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and that they matter.
And if you’re still feeling stuck…
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.