Most relationships begin at the ‘honeymoon period’ where both parties are on good behaviour. Over time the masks come off and the real personalities emerge. That’s when there can be friction and unexpected behaviour. 

This is all quite normal, and every relationship will have its ups and downs. Fortunately, there are things people can do to overcome conflict and to keep their relationships healthy. We will discuss those now. 

Know When to Take Action and When Not 

If a partner is tired, cut them some slack. They make mistakes and are imperfect, but you are the same. 

If the issues seem unconquerable, however, outside help may save the day. The Energetics Institute’s couples counselling recognises that such things as babies, relatives or culture clash can cause problems. Therapists are often trained to deal with such things as sexual issues or recovering from unfaithfulness too. 

Prioritise Communication

If a discussion is important, don’t do it on the go. Don’t have a heavy chat late at night, either. 

When you do talk, put the phones away and turn off the TV. Maintain eye contact and be a disciplined listener. Feedback to your partner what you think they are saying. 

When a person is single, they often deal with things on their own. Once they are in a relationship, any problems need to be shared. If a partner is ill, they shouldn’t retreat inside themselves. If someone is made redundant, they should communicate about their feelings. Rather than driving partners away, this actually brings them closer.  

Talk About Money

This features high on the list of relationship stressors. Discuss any financial issues and create a budget to work within. Financial problems are only resolved when both parties take responsibility and stick to the agreed action steps. 

If one person is more responsible than the other, let them handle the finances, but this should not be done in a controlling way. Obtain professional debt advice if necessary.

Learn to Handle Conflict 

Angry parties mustn’t overreact or explode. It’s just as damaging to sulk and ignore the issues too. Communicate about the problem – don’t assume it is obvious. 

If someone is being snappy or sarcastic, don’t address the symptoms but ask what the underlying issue is. 

When two parties want different things, compromise is often the solution. Each party needs to negotiate and show willingness.  

Humour is a great healer in relationships. It helps folk to stand back from life and see the big picture. Small arguments gain their proper perspective. 

Have Some ‘You Time’

It’s not selfish for people to need regular time on their own. They can think things through and talk to their friends about their lives. 

If someone has the freedom to go out with friends or pursue a hobby, they will value their partner more. People do better when they have regular time apart than when they are together 24/7.

Keep Romance Alive

Regularly remember the early days of the relationship. Consider what attracted you to this person. Respect that they have chosen you, and don’t take them for granted. Think of all the things they do, be it daily chores, work or parenting. 

Always remember birthdays and anniversaries. See them as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’. As the years march on and the looks fade, partners need to still feel special and attractive. 

Date nights can help keep relationships alive and fun. They are even more important when there are demanding children at home. Get a babysitter and go out once a week! When a person prioritises this, the partner will feel valued and loved. 

Keep Romance Alive

When these life skills are adopted by both parties, there is no reason they can’t grow closer every day. Over the years they can share their lives, both the highs and the lows. That’s what love is all about.

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