Many partners seem to live their lives playing the marriage game. We are by celebrities who joke about the fifth, sixth or the seventh of their marriage. Instead of changing continually their partners in search of a happy relationship, people should learn to manage their conflicts, anger and misunderstandings that are common to all relationships. Unfortunately, the partners start a relationship without having some rules for both sides to face some strong negative feelings, which are also an inevitable part of relationships.
1. Each relationship has its own reserve of hope
Studies show that the most destructive quarrels and conflicts start from some good intentions. These good intentions form the basis of a hidden reserve of hope, which helps the partners to create a relationship full of satisfaction.
2. A single shot can cancel 20 moments of gentleness and understanding.
We discovered that it’s enough just one major fight to cancel many hours of gentleness offered to the partner. The key: intimate partners must learn how to control the exchange of negative behaviors by finding a way to express their feelings in a constructive manner. The constructive expression of criticism is a problem related to our way of ‘showing’ ourselves to the others and choosing the best time and place for a conversation.
3. The small changes in you can lead to major changes in the relationship.
We started our research figuring that it will be easy to discover the differences between happy couples and the less lucky ones, and, although it seems that these differences are clear, they are really small and subtle. Most couples who have difficulties believe that to improve things, there must take place extraordinary changes, even a miracle. And because the human nature is as it is, most of us, when facing relationship problems, believe that the partner must do the changes and not us; we don’t realize that we don’t have control over the partner’s behavior.
As a result, we develop a kind of helplessness and a lack of hope about our relationship. We think that if he or she could change, everything would be fine. The problem occurs when we realize that by doing even small changes in us; we can obtain a great effect, as the possible changes make us more optimistic and open to our partners.
Add to your relationship a compliment told to your partner related to the way he looks and reduce ironies from your relationship (ignoring your partner when you’re angry).
4. The way in which the differences are managed produce relationship problems and not the differences between partners.
Many people believe that their relationship with the partner has problems because there are differences between him/her and the other. We hear many couples saying: ‘We are not compatible; he likes to go out, I like to stay home’. Or: ‘she goes early to bed; I’m a guy who stays until up late at night.’ These explanations are a way of motivating why relationships don’t work and why the partners are unhappy. But rather than focus on the understandings or misunderstandings of the couple, the partners who want a happy relationship should improve their listening skills.
This has nothing to do with eliminating differences, with forcing a consensus or advising the other. The listening skills, understanding and accepting the differences is the most important. Having a good listener means to have a good friend. In a happy relationship, a partner can count on the other as he counts on a good friend and not on a player or counselor.
5. Men and women fight with different weapons, but suffer the same wounds.
Not only than men and women suffer the same wounds, but they also support them in achieving the same objectives: acceptance, support, affection. When partners try to understand what goes wrong in a relationship they tend to look more at the weapons they use than to the final goals that are much desired by both. When we focused the research on the common goals of men and women in a relationship, we revealed many wrong opinions related to the differences between men and women in a marriage.
Contrary to the conventional opinion that men have ‘problems with intimacy’ and women tend to over react, men and women differ very little in their desire for intimacy and connection. From a variety of reasons, biological and cultural, men have more difficulties in managing a conflict, and women find hard to stand the emotionally distance. Often, men avoid and run because of the uncomfortable situations related to their marriage and women feel the immediate need to solve any conflict through discussion.
6. The partners need to ‘practice’ skills of having relationships in order to manage in this area.