For relationships to work, each partner needs to work on the relationship consistently. Productive, assertive, open, trusting, and respectful communications and using problem solving skills can help in resolving relationship issues. A relationship is always a work in progress, and new challenges will arise. Work with your partner to maintain a healthy, supportive relationship.
When problems start, communication often breaks down and you may notice that you and your partner do not talk as much as you used to. To start improving your communication again, try making little appointments to chat about little things.Keep these conversations as light as possible and avoid discussing anything that might upset your partner during this time. For example, you could set aside 15 minutes per morning to sit and tell each other about your plans for the day. Or, you could give your partner a call on his or her lunch break to check in and see how your partner’s day is going.
If you and your partner are prone to shouting at each other during arguments, try going to a public place to discuss problem topics. Got to a library, a coffee shop, or the mall to talk through the issue. The knowledge that you may cause a scene if you yell at each other should help you to keep your voices down and have a more civil conversation
Interrupting your partner before he or she has finished speaking is also a common cause of problems. If you often interrupt your partner, try to end this habit and allow your partner to finish speaking before you say anything. Doing so will help your partner to feel heard and give you a chance to learn what his or her complaint is all about.
Feeling unappreciated can cause problems in a relationship as well. That is why it is so important to remember to say things like “thank you” and “I appreciate you” as often as possible. For example, if your partner often loads the dishwasher after dinner and tidies up the kitchen, let him or her know that you value these activities. Say something like, “I just want to say thank you for keeping our kitchen so clean and nice. I appreciate that so much.”
Sometimes an argument may get heated and you may find yourself saying or wanting to say things that are meant to make your partner feel bad about him or herself rather than to solve your problems. If you feel the urge to say something hurtful to your partner, take a moment to stop and think about what the problem is and what you could say to move closer to a solution. For example, instead of calling your partner a mean name or insulting him or her in some other way, identify what you want him or her to do.
Sometimes you will need to apologize in order to move forward with your partner. Try to be honest with yourself and determine if you are at fault and if you need to apologize. If you make an apology, make sure that it is sincere, specific, and expresses what you plan to do to make things right
The first step in solving a specific relationship problem is to figure out what the problem really is. For example, if you and your partner have been arguing a lot lately, try to pinpoint the reason why. It may be different for each of you.
Once you have identified the problem, you will need to express how you feel to your partner. When you do so, make sure that you use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid blaming your partner for the way that you feel.
Acknowledging that you have heard your partner and that you understand how he or she feels is a good way to move forward. Avoid getting defensive because this will only lead to an argument and deepening resentment. Instead, let your partner know that you hear and understand. Do not get defensive even if your partner responds to you with a defensive claim, such as “You are always nagging me and you never appreciate how hard I work.” Acknowledge your partner’s feelings and move on.
Once you have expressed yourselves and acknowledged each other’s feelings, you and your partner will need to come up with a plan to cut down on the frequency of disagreements and the amount of time spent arguing. Try to reach a compromise with your partner so that both of you feel like your needs are being met.