Being in a relationship is the hardest yet most rewarding job anyone could ever have. The reason for this is simple: We actually care about our loved one. We value their opinion, we care about what they think, and we want to be loved and respected (a basic human need). However, no one is officially taught how to be in a healthy relationship; and healthy is relative to each person. We learn about relationships by watching the two most important people in our lives; our parents or primary caregivers. How they treat each other, talk to each other, and engage with one another is what we learn to be "normal."
Sadly, the person closest to us often sees our ugliest parts and sides. Along with this, many people often treat their partner in ways that they wouldn't treat anyone else (except for themselves of course).
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the leading researchers on how to make relationships (marriages specifically) last, contend that healthy communication is key to having a happy and lasting relationship (Gottman training, 2014).
The Gottmans' explain that the following forms of communication, of which they call The Four Horsemen, are likely indicators that a relationship will fail. These include: Criticism (verbally attacking character), Contempt (attacking sense of self), Defensiveness (seeing self as victim), and Stonewalling(withdrawal as means to avoid conflict).
The Four Horsemen are known to create irreparable damage to a relationship.
The only way to heal a relationship where there has been on-going contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling is to learn how to communicate and connect in a new way void of these forms of engaging.
The Gottmans have tried and true techniques that couples can learn to heal their relationship longterm. One technique includes a Repair Checklist (The Gottman Institute, 2010) that couples can use as a guide and reminder of how to communicate, ask for what they need, and engage in ways that will increase intimacy inside an outside of the bedroom.
This Repair Checklist has various sections with practice statements that couples can use with each other to improve communication, increase connection, and enhance intimacy.
Examples of the various sections include:
I Feel... For example, "I am getting scared," and "Please say that more gently."
I Need To Calm Down.... For example, "I need your support right now," and "Can we take a break?"
Sorry... For example, "My reactions were to strong. Sorry," and "Let me try again."
Get to Yes... For example, "You're starting to convince me," and "Let's compromise here."
Stop Action... For example, ""Let's start over again," and "Let's agree to disagree here."
I Appreciate... For example, "I love you," and "Thank you for..."
These are just a few of several examples on Gottman's Repair Checklist, all of which, with practice, are surefire ways to create healthier communication and lasting intimacy.
While most people struggle in their intimate relationship to have healthy communication, there are simple ways to improve this type of connectivity. With practice and dedication by both people, communication and intimacy can improve longterm.
As always, please remember, you are worth it.
FREE WEBINAR ON HEALING CHRONIC STRESS! TODAY!FEB 8TH FROM 5-6; RSVP CARI@NAMASTEADVICE.COM. SIGN UP TODAY! Room for 2 more couples at our Couples Intro to Yoga-for Couples wanting to improve trust, learn forgiveness, and connect on a more intimate level; Feb 13th, 1-4 p.m; $200 total; rsvp: firstname.lastname@example.org; $50 reserves your seats; space is limited! Email Cari at cari@namasteadvice for a copy of our Group and Workshop Schedule and Fees, or to RSVP
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