Relationships and how to survive them
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
25th May, 20120 Comments
Is your relationship under pressure? Then you are not alone, as the economic realities hit, couples in the UK find their relationship under increasing pressure. How do you stay successful in your relationship or rescue it if problems have started to appear. There are some easy steps that you can work at to improve your partnership.
If there is a single key to good relationship it is communication. It is the only way you can understand your partner and they can know you. Keep in mind what Steven Covey said “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. That is make sure that you understand the others point of view try saying it back to them, only then do you explain your thoughts. Honest, truthful communication however difficult is more likely to produce lasting results and trust in relationships.
Another great tip from couples, who have been together for a long time, is acceptance. Accept that none of us is perfect. If you focus only on what frustrates you, pretty soon it’s going to undermine that which you value in your partner. Remember the only person in the relationship you can change is you. Sure you can try to manipulate the other person by guilt, but ultimately it will sour how the see and feel about you, they may even start to resent what you are doing.
Learn to argue right. All health relationships have conflict, so you need to find a way to talk about the difficult stuff. When criticising it is best to use the positive and to own you criticism. For example, “I know you’ve had a hard day and want to watch TV, but I really feel that I need help to prepare supper could you help?” rather than “You always are glued to the TV and I’m struggling with supper, can’t you help?” The first seeks to show empathy, and then says clearly how you feel and what you need and asks for help. The second criticises in an absolute way, “always”, then goes on to demand help. Which would you respond best too? Focusing on feelings works because your partner needs to be less defensive when hearing them.
Enjoy time together. Do you remember what first attracted you to your partner? Do you remember what it felt like at the start of your relationship? You looked forward to time spent together you made time for each other. Intimacy has a big part to play in relationships and intimacy means much more than sex, it is the emotional, spiritual and recreational aspects of your relationship that form the foundation of your relationship now and in the future, so make some time to date your partner too.
The message is that if you can keep talking and stay interested in each other, then you can find a way to overcome any difficulty whether that is on your own or with the help of a professional like a counsellor.
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