The 5 keys to stronger relationships
Posted: February 4, 2009
Last Updated: February 4, 2009
Since the dawning of psychology, scientists have been studying the nature of love and the relationships spawned by this very strong, yet indescribable emotional connection. Dating, engagements, and marriage, all our most intimate relationships have been microscopically inspected and dissected to discover what works, what doesn’t, and how to make the entire ‘affair’ better for both parties.
Researchers have come to understand why some relationships happily endure, what can make some unhappy, and what can cause divorce, which still claims half of all first marriages, often within the first seven years of marriage. All these studies have been able to pinpoint five key ways to build stronger relationships and strengthen already existing relationships:
· Develop relationship rituals- People need meaningful interactions that connect them to one another. Rituals provide that interaction whether it is greeting each other with a kiss or never forgetting to include “I love you” when saying goodbye. Remember to make a ritual that acknowledges each other and other family members if you have children, and stick to it.
· Participate in leisure activities- Plan activities as a couple to offer a chance to talk to one another. That old adage, “The family that plays together, stays together” is partially true according to research that has found marital satisfaction is closely related to communication during leisure time. Try helping out with your loved one’s hobby or having an interest you both share. Biking together, hiking together, even reading together has been found to increase couples’ satisfaction with each other and their relationship.
· Date night – Plan time together alone, once a month, where talking about work, children or stress is off-limits. It doesn’t have to cost money, just spending time together on a midnight stroll or walking in the park during the afternoon is a great way to get back in touch with each other without outside stress or worries affecting you. If babysitting is an issue, think about taking babysitting turns with another couple once a month. Then both couples can have a free night with no cost involved!
· Listen & respond—Many people just want someone to listen to them. When your partner is speaking give him or her your undivided attention. Listen with a willingness to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions –it shows you are listening. Try to participate more than nodding your head or making a token cover statement. Make sure your loved one knows you are listening, and most important, that you care about what is being said.
· Resolve conflict- Inevitably all couples have conflict. When one person has offended the other, rather than becoming negative or ignore the situation, try to confront the conflict. Reconciliation and building trust are cornerstones of a positive relationship. If you feel your relationship has lost that trust, it might be time to seek professional help and relationship counseling to help with the process of granting forgiveness and reaching reconciliation.
Remember that all relationships take work. A floundering relationship didn’t reach that point in a single night, and to move away from that point can take months of hard work to repair the relationship. All relationships, be they marriage, friendships or even dating partners, take time and work to keep strong.
If your relationship could use counseling consider calling Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649; in Luna County, call 546-2174. For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.