10 Things Every Couple Needs To Learn
- Know the difference between Wants & Expectations! This topic alone will likely be the subject of an entire Newsletter in the future. Simply put however, partners will often make the mistake of expecting something they want and then faulting the other for not giving it to them. To expect means to assume or count on whereas to want is to desire or crave. Expectations of each other are frequently assumed because they are often based on behaviors that have been experienced in the past. Wants are often hopes that may or may not have been expressed clearly. It is comforting to know what to expect and sometimes unfair to expect that the other knows what you want.
- Promote dialogue. Communication means exchange, discussion and conversation between partners. For this to be effective each partner needs to listen attentively, speak without threatening and emphasize the positive.
- Be clear. If you are not sure about what you want from your partner, get clear before you bring it up. If you are dissatisfied and want things to get better then it is your responsibility to identify the issue(s) so that you can talk about them. If you are going through a personal struggle that is not due to your relationship, let your partner know about it so that she/he does not feel left out of your life.
- Be considerate. This is a “no-brainer”! Being accommodating, attentive, patient and thoughtful goes a long way in creating a loving atmosphere where each partner is getting their needs met.
- Be tolerant. If you are difficult to get along with and have been getting worse over time, learn some tolerance quickly! Tolerance falls into the category of forgiveness and benevolence. Being tolerant of others is an admirable attribute that works well in a relationship.
- Take responsibility. When a couple is not getting along there will often be a lot of pointing fingers and blaming. Be ready to accept your end of any situation. Be careful because the first tendency you will have is to defend yourself…don’t! If you want harmony in your relationship, get over yourself and take the heat.
- Agree to disagree. Couples will often fall into the trap of thinking there has to be a resolution to every argument or disagreement. Wrong! One partner can respectfully disagree with the other. If an issue demands that there be a decision made then some form of negotiation should be entered into. You may need some outside help if there is a deadlock.
- Show affection. Let’s face it, everybody wants to be loved. Affection comes in all forms. Say nice things to each other, smile, touch, kiss, do something your partner likes, buy a small present or send a card. It feels good when someone you care about shows they care about you.
- Employ humor. When people are dating they laugh, carry on and have fun with each other. Somehow the weight of everyday life gets in the way of enjoying each other’s company. If you have lost your sense of humor…try finding it again! Don’t let yourself get too serious…it tends to dull the relationship.
- Don’t say everything! I know I will get some unfriendly comments about this one but I believe it to be true. I am not suggesting you be dishonest. I am only saying here that it is sometimes wiser to examine what you are about to say for the effect it might have on your partner. Simply blurting something out because you are anxious, angry or feeling guilty without thinking about the consequences may not be in the best interest of your relationship at that moment.
If you are not already employing these strategies I strongly suggest that you begin to do so immediately. If you are already doing most of these things I congratulate you!
Dr. Stan Hyman has been helping individuals, couples and business partners create solutions and find new ways to develop great relationships. He has been a practicing therapist and relationship coach for over 20 years. He has written numerous articles including, Rebuilding Trust, Recovering from Affairs, and to read more article visit my website and Newsletters.
He is available via Skype, webcam, telephone and in person and coaches individuals and couples both in the U.S. and internationally.