When we reflect on our lives and what is really important to us, it is often the relationships with our loved ones that we identify as the most important thing in our lives. However, we can have an expectation that because we love someone the relationship should just work.
This relates not just to our partners but also friends and family members.
All relationships go through some difficult times and sometimes when problems arise we can be overwhelmed by the challenges they present. Often we hold onto resentments, the same old arguments occur, with the same frustrating outcomes, and both people can feel hurt, alienated, and stuck.
Yet many problems can be resolved by learning more about relationships, understanding the unhealthy dynamics that may have developed, learning more effective ways to resolve issues, and starting to increase the things that we know help to nurture and develop healthy and happy relationships.
What Causes Relationship Problems?
- Neglect of the relationship
- Inability to resolve conflict
- Poor management of differences between partners
- Poor communication skills
- Withdrawing care and lack of support
- Loss of compassion
- Times of crisis
Whether it is a couple coming for relationship counselling, or an individual seeking to understand themselves or others better, engaging in counselling with a psychologist can help your relationships.
Psychologists understand that relationships are an important part of human behaviour. Your psychologist can be an objective listener to help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, help you to understand yourself and your reactions to others, explore your expectation of relationships, break unhealthy patterns, and help you to develop new skills that we know have a positive effect on relationships.
Ten tips for a Happy Relationship
Actively keep your love alive by valuing and nurturing your relationship in the following ways.
- Plan regular time together doing something you both enjoy.
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming the worst. Be curious and seek to understand why your partner is acting the way he or she is.
- Make sure the positive experiences in your relationship outweigh the negative experiences by five to one, and make sure you show your appreciation for your partner’s caring actions.
- When there is conflict make sure you calm yourselves by taking time out when emotions are high, and coming back to the discussion later.
- When mistakes are made, make sure you both work to repair the damage.
- Be there to support your partner in times of difficulty, and encourage him or her in their work, friendships and leisure activities.
- Be prepared to be influenced by what is important to your partner, just as your partner needs to be influenced by you.
- Have a ‘team mentality’. When there are difficulties, talk about what ‘we’ need to do about it.
- Have high standards for your relationship, and take responsibility for acting in ways that reflect your values.
- Keep your sense of humour, and make sure you have fun and laugh together.