How do I keep my relationship healthy?
When you’re trying to understand your partner’s emotions, the first thing, and the most prominent thing that couples come in to counseling for, is having a hard time communicating, and having a hard time with miscommunication. That’s because communication can be really difficult. One of the things I would focus on is the ability to listen. Listening skills become really, really important in terms of really understanding our partner and being able to resolve conflicts.
Part of what you want to do in listening is you really want to pay attention to what it is your partner’s saying, and not take things too personally that they’re saying. That can be challenging to do, but very important. And once we take things too personally, then all of a sudden we’re listening to ourselves and not listening to our partner.
Furthermore is, you really want to listen to what your partner’s saying, and not what you want them to be saying. That oftentimes can be part of the miscommunication as well, is that we have an agenda, or we have a certain filter that we’re listening through. And that can skew what’s actually being said.
Also, it’s important to understand that there’s a saying in the psychology field which is, it’s not the rupture, it’s the repair. And what that means is that miscommunication happens. It happens frequently and that having a rupture does not destroy or mitigate any kind of progress that the relationship’s happening.
What’s more important is the repair. And in the repair attempt, is what the term is, is that the couple comes to one another and really tries to pay attention, and tries to learn about what happened, and learn about the emotional impact that it had on one another, so that they can move forward and grow deeper in their relationship.