I often am asked how to have a successful relationship. Three keys to success in every relationship are honesty, open mindedness and willingness, hence HOW. Open, honest, communication, conflict resolution and compromise. These skills are achieved by having a foundation of trust and respect. When we trust and respect each other in a relationship, thoughts and feelings are communicated in a calm and assertive way. Communication leads to understanding, forgiveness and compromise. Effective conflict resolution occurs when couples communicate thoughts and feelings about a situation, work through the feelings, and let go within the same day, without going to bed angry. Couples that learn the skills needed to increase communication, resolve conflict and compromise are going to be able have a relationship that is healthy, fulfilling and satisfying.
Forgiveness is necessary and often a difficult skill for many couples to learn and apply. Unforgiveness leads to blame, unfair arguing, resentment and bitterness. True forgiveness means we let the situation go and forget. The incident, mistake, hurt or disappointment needs to be communicated. Many people will say that they forgive, but never forget and then use the situation as ammunition in the next argument or conflict. If the behavior is re-occurring, then apply conflict resolution skills to be able to resolve the situation once and for all, if not, repeated offenses will lead one to feel disrespected. Seek wise counsel if necessary to mediate the situation and learn. True expression of love is being slow to anger and quick to forgive. In every relationship, we need to do ourselves a favor, and forgive. Many people ask, “How many times must I forgive?” We must forgive every time that we feel hurt by another person’s words or actions.
Keys to Remember
- Listen, allow your mate an opportunity to speak, do not interrupt
- Focus on the behavior or incident in the moment
- No name calling, insults, assaults, profanity or sarcasm
- Use I statements, not accusatory statements “I feel hurt” instead of “You always”
- Take a time out if emotions are escalating
- Apologize, when wrong, promptly admit it
- Forgive as you would want to be forgiven
Once you and your partner are able to forgive and proceed once again with trust and respect, the principles of Honesty, Open mindedness and Willingness can be applied
Honesty – Make it a goal to choose your partner to be at least, the one person you are going to be honest with. Choosing to be real about your inner most thoughts, craziest fantasies, goals and dreams, needs and wants will allow your relationship to thrive and reach the quality level that you desire.
Open mindedness – Chose to be open to your partners changes and growth over time. What may have been fulfilling or satisfying in the past may no longer be acceptable in the relationship. Be open to change and new experiences to create the relationship that you envision.
Willingness – Be willing to take a risk and change. Give the relationship and your partner a chance to meet your needs. Make a plan with a timeline in place, for example in six months we want to repair and enhance our relationship. A willing heart and mind will break through the barrier of stubbornness that leads to a stagnant relationship. Being willing to try new things will allow your heart to soften and grow in love.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; deeply loving someone gives you courage”