Success in a relationship starts with the relationship with you. It is you self-honesty, accountability, maturity, willingness to laugh at yourself and practice non-defensive communication that can make the difference in relationship success with your loved one.
Many problems in a relationship occur because we are so locked into our own agenda and our own viewpoint that we don’t listen to our partner. Often communication turns into angry accusations and a standoff between partners.
The following are some suggestions to improve your relationship:
- Listen with the “third ear” trying to understand vs. being understood. Taking in the totality of the person, the voice tone, the physical posture, the emotions and not just the words.
- Be in the moment when the person is speaking not in the past or in the future. Listen to the person, not to your inner chatter.
- Focus on a feeling of love. It leads to openness and not defensiveness. Being loving and understanding can break barriers.
- Validate what you hear.
- Try to see humor in situations.
- Practice calm self-expression without accusations. A good rule of thumb: use the I when you express your needs, I.e.: I feel hurt when you _____________________. Breathe and if you need to take a break from the conversation, take a time out to re-center yourself.
- Don’t hesitate to apologize when you are wrong, it can break down barriers