How to Save Your Relationship from Certain Destruction
During my work with couples, I have met individuals with different personalities, backgrounds, attachment styles, communication styles, love languages, etc. Obviously, every person is different and every couple is different when it comes to challenges they face within the relationship.
Oftentimes a simple change in how you communicate can save the relationship and allow the partners to thrive.
We all can benefit from learning tools on how to communicate better, to be understood and to listen, to connect and move towards each other in order to create intimacy and a healthy relationship. Words can be very harmful and damaging. Be mindful of negative communication patterns in what you say.
When trust has been compromised and the couple have decided to work through it, manipulating, shaming, judging and reminding them of the issue can be very destructive and damaging to the relationship. Instead, acknowledging what happened and the emotional impact of it on each partner in order to acquire new knowledge and ways to avoid the issue from happening again can be very helpful. It is very important for the partner who is trying to gain the trust back, to take the necessary steps to be accountable and also to respect the boundaries that are being put by the other partner while they are healing. Staying patient, positive and motivated is the key.
Have you ever come across someone who apologizes for their wrong doing, but yet it doesn't feel genuine and enough. One common issue I have observed between couples is when one partner apologizes for something they said or did, but yet it is not being perceived as a genuine apology. It sounds like: “ I don't remember doing that or saying that, but if I did, I'm sorry.”
What is missing here is taking responsibility and accountability for what happened. Therefore it doesn't feel like a real apology. An apology needs to be validating and comforting to our partner. Instead of getting defensive about what you did wrong, focusing on what your partner needed the most at the time. Change your apology to something like: “ it sounds like you needed my support, i wasn't there to provide it to you, and i am sorry for that”.
It is not uncommon to fall in love with someone completely the opposite of you. Because they are really strong in areas that you are not. We all have our weaknesses and strengths. It feels good to be around someone who is stronger in areas that you are not. It feels safe, stable and secure. Often when we get into a relationship and the honeymoon phase is over, individuals begin to notice the weaknesses and areas they need to grow. Instead of making it a power struggle and pointing out each other's weaknesses, create a mutual agreement that supports moving towards one another. Help each other grow instead of getting defensive. Lean into the discomfort and let a place that used to be characterized by conflict be a place that actually produces intimacy and strength.
A few final tips:
- Avoid criticizing your partner and focusing on a specific behavior. Instead, talk about your feelings using “ I” statements and express a positive need.
- Instead of name calling, mocking and being sarcastic, practice respecting one another and build a culture of appreciation within the relationship.
- Be a good listener, instead of jumping into defensiveness and playing the victim. Accepting responsibility even if it's for part of the conflict can be very validating and comforting to the other partner.
- Be mindful of your own emotions and also your partner's reactions. Often during an argument one of the partners shuts down and doesn't engage anymore without resolving anything. It's important to take some time and self regulate before discussing the issue. Maintaining a healthy relationship takes effort. Practice makes perfect. Keep trying!
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