Ever wondered why some couples seem so happy? No, it's not down to luck. It's because they've learned the art of repair. So, if you want to fix a broken relationship, here's what you need to know.
Communication is key to any loving, nurturing relationship. But sometimes, the communication channels break down. Here are four common patterns.
There's nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism. It's a problem when criticism becomes a personal attack.
Often, criticisms come in the form of blanket statements. Here are two examples.
"You always put yourself first."
"You never try hard enough."
Using words like "always" and "never" automatically puts the other person on the defensive.
Let's take this point a little further.
When there's an argument, it's not uncommon for one person to defend themselves or claim it's actually all the other person's fault.
So, the conversation could go like this:
"You always put yourself first."
"No, you're exaggerating. You only care about yourself."
A person's being disrespectful and immature if they resort to name calling, eye rolling, or sarcasm. It's impossible to resolve a dispute if one person feels humiliated or undermined.
If you can't communicate respectfully with your partner, the relationship may not last. Learning how to repair a strained relationship means approaching your partner with compassion and honesty.
When someone withdraws from the conversation completely, it's usually because they feel overwhelmed and need some downtime. In other words, the shut down. They either turn away, stop talking, or leave the room. The problem? The other person feels rejected and a little hopeless, and communication seems impossible.
But don't worry. It's not impossible. It just takes a little work.
Before you can heal a broken relationship, there are two things you must do.
Admit there's a problem. This takes courage, but it's essential.
Decide you care enough about the relationship to fix it.
We like to call this the art of repair because yes, it's challenging, but there’s a knack to it that anyone can master.
Once you've decided you want to fix your relationship problems, here are four ways to start.
Minor issues can become major problems if you don't address them early enough. Rather than quietly worrying over something your partner said or did, bring it up immediately.
Reach out to your partner and remind them you're on the same side.
Gently explain why something hurt you.
And if your partner raises a problem with you, always apologise if you know you did something wrong. Or, at least empathise with them and show you understand why they're upset.
Remember, you're a team with your own unique communication style. Maybe you both appreciate brutal honesty, or perhaps you're more sensitive. Or, maybe you communicate better through touch and body language.
Whatever works for you, commit to building a strong foundation for communication going forward.
Communication isn't just about talking. It's about listening.
Truly listen. Make eye contact and show you're committed.
Don't interrupt and wait for your partner to finish speaking.
Think before you respond. Have you learned anything from what your partner said? Put yourself in their shoes, even for a little while.
Remember, there's a learning curve to every relationship. And it never ends, no matter how long you've been together. That's part of the fun – there's always something new to discover!
Every partnership needs work, so don't forget to tend to yours. Here are some suggestions.
Go out for a meal, or even just have a movie night.
Emphasise touch again.
Tell your partner all the things you love about them, and have them do the same in return.
Sometimes, the art of repair is not so easy to master. So if you just don't know how to move forward, don't panic. Relationship counselling is a great way to explore what's causing the problems in your relationship and fix them before they become irreparable..