Each relationship has to face some tough conversations from time to time. These could be big decisions where you don’t see eye to eye with each other. They could be some unhealthy dynamics in the relationship that needs to be sorted out. Or a bad choice that one of you has made that has to be faced.
When I tell my partner ‘I love you,’ it might mean ‘I feel some sensations or emotions right now that I’m labelling as love’. It's such a broad label used to convey a vast range of different feelings that it communicates nothing. 'I love you', could mean ‘I like you’ or ‘I am consumed with passion'?
There are things I react to more strongly than others – my ‘hot buttons’. Don’t laugh, but examples that trigger my irritation are Mona putting the mugs in the wrong place in the cupboard or telling me where to park the car. Looking at these with distance, I admit they are possibly an over-reaction.
There is a common belief that successful relationships require compromise which means both parties gain something and give up something. It's an exchange of individual gain and cost so that the outcome is fair and balanced. We don’t need to try too hard to solve the problem. I know we can do better.
Conflict represents a chance to learn more about each other and to combine two different perspectives to build a better answer. There is an IF though and it is big one. The advantages of conflict can only be experienced IF you have some skill to handle the conflict in a productive and connected way.
In terms of communication in relationships and helping my children learn emotional health, I consider it important for me to understand my emotions and learn how to express them in a way that builds connection and trust. I want to state them clearly without supressing or acting out from my emotions.
All relationships need positive energy to thrive. This energy can come from a variety of places and one that is always available is that provided by gratitude and appreciation. In our couple relationship we focused on this for the last couple of years and it has made a huge difference on many levels.
Vulnerability is often confused with weakness. To be vulnerable is to open myself and reveal my inner world – my tenderness, my weaknesses, fears, mistakes, hopes, secrets and dreams. It is this revealing that is being vulnerable. Showing my vulnerability shows my humanity and willingness to be seen.
One of the core skills vital to a successful relationship is that of listening. This is the case with our intimate partner, our children and anyone else we are in connection with. I also think most of us are not very good at it. The good news is that this is a skill that anyone can learn and deepen.
Communication is essential for a healthy and thriving relationship - both quantity and the quality. Finding time to talk and listen is one thing, but if you miss some important skills of expressing yourself and listening, then you can sometimes cause more harm than good.