Repairing your relationship takes time and work. Recognising problem areas is the first step to building a healthier relationship.
Behaviours such as criticism and contempt can cause one or both partners to become defensive or closed off. Addressing the underlying issues requires a strategy that strengthens communication and promotes positive exchanges between you and your partner. Here are five secrets to repairing your relationship.
Repair strategies provide a road map for both partners to identify and resolve issues. They are different for each couple and can change over time.
Repair strategies include both making and receiving repair attempts. When you recognise a situation leading to a fight, take a moment to consider a kinder and calmer approach. Acknowledge your partner’s repair attempts and receive them with an open mind.
If you are not ready to receive the repair attempt right away, thank your partner and take time to put the situation into perspective. Agree to constructively discuss the situation once you are calm enough to make a repair attempt of your own.
Individual conflicts may require different repair strategies. Assess each situation and discuss the best approach for resolution.
Work together to find phrases to use when a discussion threatens to become a fight. The right words can serve as early repair attempts that help keep your relationship on track.
Use humour to ease the tension and deflect a negative situation. When doing so, refer to things you both have in common rather than making jokes at your partner’s expense.
Find out what your partner needs from you. This helps you understand one another better and aids in conflict resolution.
Validate your partner’s feelings. Doing so shows you care and are paying attention.
Apologise for your negative actions. Acknowledging them shows you are sincere and understand their impact.
Take responsibility for your part in the argument to indicate your willingness to resolve the conflict. Owning your actions helps you grow as an individual and strengthens your relationship.
Discuss ways to avoid the same actions in future situations. Explain your negative words or actions to your partner, and talk about what you will do in the future to avoid repeating them.
Explore how words or actions from your partner trigger negative responses from you. Understanding your triggers is the first step to managing them.
Then, discuss ways to avoid negative reactions with your partner. Find healthy responses to suggestions and constructive criticism. This prevents negative feelings from developing and results in fewer arguments.
Remember that triggers take on many forms and are specific to each person. Thus, understanding your own triggers and those of your partner leads to healthier discussions.
A successful romantic relationship is based on friendship. Emotionally connected couples are friends above all else. So, keep the friendship strong. Do nice things for your partner. You will receive kindness in return.
The quality of your friendship dictates the effectiveness of repair attempts. Genuine techniques are successful when a solid foundation is present.
A strong friendship results from getting to know your partner. Ask questions and show an interest in likes and dislikes. Discuss things you have in common, and engage in activities of mutual interest. Also, pay attention. Consciously listening and making an effort to learn more about your partner will help the friendship continue to grow and deepen.
Nurture the fondness you feel for each other. Express your love and thanks for all your partner does for you. Regularly issue genuine compliments that build one another up. Simple things like holding hands when at home and in public will allow you to develop a deeper physical and emotional connection.
Follow these tips to repair a strained relationship. Check in with one another regularly to assess your efforts. Discuss what works and what doesn't to gain a better understanding of each other's needs. As you communicate more, you'll experience fewer conflicts and a long-lasting relationship built on love and admiration for one another.