How to Improve Your Relationships
When couples are in crisis or having issues, often they feel ashamed so they don’t talk to anyone about it. Or, maybe, they turn to their family and then get them in the middle of the issues. They feel lost, alone and don’t know how to make the relationship work. Below are some steps to take in order to improve your relationships.
- Work on yourself. Make a list of how you have contributed to the issues in the relationship and what you are going to do to make some changes. You can’t change someone else. They have to want to work on themselves. However, you can work on yourself and try to gain some peace and insight into why you have certain triggers or react the way you do. If one person changes, it will change the dynamic of the relationship. It goes back to the saying, “Accept what you cannot change and change what you cannot accept.”
- Use “I” statements to communicate. Notice how you communicate to your partner. It’s important you are tapping into how you feel. A good format to use is “I feel ____ when you ____ because I need______.” Many people think they are communicating a feeling when they are actually communicating a thought or simply making a statement. Research shows that intimacy comes from an emotional connection. Starting a sentence off by saying, “You always or never…” will instantly stop any effective communication. It is more helpful to come back when you have calmed down and are able to talk rationally about the issue.
- Listen and try to understand your partner’s perspective. Are you truly listening or coming up with your argument or why you are right and they are wrong? When you can shift from trying to be right to trying to truly understand, it can shift the relationship. Everyone wants to feel heard, validated and understood. This is a key element in a relationship.
- Work on your expectations. You and your partner make a list of ten things you like your partner to do for you. “I like it when you vacuum, hold my hand, text me during the day, tell me you love me…” These are small items your partner does that help you to feel loved. Exchange your lists and do something from each other’s lists a few times a week. You will keep your partners list so you can do something from their list. This can literally change the relationship instantly because you are helping them to feel loved.
These are a few things that can begin to change the relationship.
-Kristen D Boice M.A., LMFT, EMDR Trained
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