relationship problemsEvery relationship has its problems and challenges, some of the issues are to do with the relationship and some are to do with the two individuals. If you are struggling with your relationship, if it has felt troubled for some time then these 5 tips will help. There will be another 5 tips tomorrow.

In any relationship there are arguments, fall-outs, periods of shouting and screaming and often silence, but the biggest problem is almost always down to communication.

Lets have a look at some really useful, simple strategies for improving relationships and creating a happier living environment at the same time. These really work, I use them all the time with my online counselling clients.

  • Communicate more effectively: communication is the key to relationship survival and when things become tense between you, regular communication just isn’t a reality. Try to hone up your communication skills. Brush up on the “I” statements, active listening skills, reflection and clarification of what you think the other person is thinking and feeling, check out you are correct by asking them how they feel. When things are difficult, we can misinterpret easily and add fuel to the fire.
  • Resist Making Accusations: When we fire accusations at our partner we are holding up a sign about ourselves. The sign reads, “I am critical, judgmental, and annoyed!” It’s much better to think about what you need to make life good for you and find a way to ask for it. Think, what can my partner do to help me with the difficulty or problem I am experiencing and how can I ask for that in non threatening way.
  • Take time to say: ‘ Love You’ and this is why I do. “I love the way you wear you hair,” or “I love you in that dress,” It speaks volumes and lets your partner know what you like and how to meet your needs. If you want love, be love. Most people are happy to reflect love back at you, and you feel loving giving it, you will feel better as well as your partner. If saying I love you feels difficult, start with kindness, its the foundations of love and build on it, say only positive things and it will start to feel easier.
  • Label the Problems: Do something about it. Most often couples are defending two or more separate issues and neither of them are working on the same issue at the same time. Learning conflict resolution skills can help you to identify problems, write them down, prioritise them and decide which issues to tackle first. It’s a good idea to go for the easy to resolve issues first, then when you have a few successes under your belt, tackle one of the more challenging ones with your enhanced skills. List the possible solutions and rate them from each of you as to their likelihood of success and the degree of comfort you have in carrying them out. Add your values together to discover the relationship vote. There is a higher chance these options will succeed.
  • Be Patient: Healing and change takes time and practice. When we want change, we want new habits. New habits, like learning to drive a car, take time, coaching, rehearsal, and repetition to lock them in our thought processes. Try not to be disappointed when an old habit sneaks back in, this just means the new habit is not secure yet and needs more practice. Give the gift of time and remember habits that are rewarded will lock in place faster and give better lasting positive change. Old habits that are criticized will become reinforced through the focus on them and become harder to shift. So don’t be scared to say ‘that was the old me, i’m sorry’.

I hope you have found these strategies useful, there will be another 5 tomorrow, so reward this and tomorrows and get them clear in your mind, you can always bookmark this page and come back to it for reference.

Relationships which add to our lives and help to make us happy are wonderful and it’s possible with some fresh ideas to get the good times back.

Written by Paul Parkin – online counsellor and life coach

19th April 2013