Relationships are an essential part of human life and human personal growth, and they are unavoidable. Some are chosen, and others are thrust upon us – family, work, social environments, gatherings, daily interactions.
They present us with opportunities to connect, establish a sense of belonging, provide a space to share and express feelings and emotions. They provide a source of fulfillment and security, and often the status of our relationships can tell us a lot about how we treat ourselves.
Relationships are all unique and provide different circumstances and challenges. When the relationship is healthy, we feel respected, valued, loved, understood and content.
Being in a relationship also presents challenges for the very same reasons. They require openness, honesty, and commitment. Relationships require effort and a deep sense of compassion, consideration, and awareness. Dealing with relationship problems also requires self-reflection and the learned skill of exploring personal values/strengths/weaknesses without judgment. With couples and relationship problems, I find the most common factor is problematic communication.
Problematic communication patterns prevent couples resolving problems, and limit their ability to effectively discuss challenges, that lead to relationship crisis. Conflict is an unpleasant and normal part of a couple’s life, and it is one of the most common presenting issues for couples who present to counselling for relationship problems.
Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture can be very helpful in dealing with relationship problems. Understanding the relationship and learning about each other’s communication style and conflict resolution skills can be a big first step towards a healthy, caring, functioning relationship.
Seeking to understand as opposed to seeking to be understood creates new possibilities in a relationship. It helps to view the relationship problem from a place that is not in the problem, this gift can offer insights and relationship problem solutions.
I am often asked by clients and those who seek help to address couple’s relationship problems. How to manage our relationship problems? The answer I give is – an important step is to understand each other’s communication style.
Does each member in the relationship have the communication skills to speak truthfully without blaming or accusing, expressing themselves without being emotionally overwhelmed, and the skills to listen effectively without taking it personally, defending your ground or seeing it as an attack? Learning these skills would be a great place to start and it can be done with a sense or curiosity and exploration.
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At times a relationship in crisis cannot be saved, however learning about it can prevent future relationship problems and establish positive communication patterns that minimise conflict in life.
Mindful Health Counselling can help you
- Learn effective communication techniques and strategies
- Understand the root of the problem
- Understanding each other’s communication style
- Minimise criticism and blame
- Manage conflict
- Separating the problem from arguments about the problem
- Focus on the strengths and positives in the relationship
- Increase emotional intimacy