You’ve learned a lot of things throughout life. You’ve gathered information and knowledge from school, from your parents, and through experiences over time. You probably got a decent education in most things, but I would venture to guess that you never received a crash course in how to create, cultivate and sustain healthy adaptive relationships.
Most of the focus on relational health centers on love, marriage and family because these are the relationships that give us the most fulfillment and satisfaction.
However, these are the hardest relationships to learn from because they embody so much emotion, and the stakes are always very high.
So what if you could get a fundamental education in relationships?
What if you could get a degree in relating, and even become a scholar in the art of relational health?
Imagine how happy and productive you could be if you knew that your relationships were thriving and getting the type of nurturance they needed to survive?
When you were growing up your relationship toolbox was filled with all sorts of stuff. You were given random tools even though you had no idea what kind of work you would need to do.
Now as an adult you reach into that toolbox and pull out whatever seems right only to find that it’s creating even more problems.
The harder you try, the more damage you do until whatever your working on completely breaks.
There are some things in life that we can accept as our natural gifts.
Certain things come easier than others, and over time we have to make a choice to acknowledge and accept our limitations.
However, the little secret that no one ever told you is that EVERYONE sucks at relationships.
It’s not that relationships are so terribly hard to conquer, it’s just that every relationship is unique so there are no magic answers on how to do them right.
What you CAN DO is learn some basic skills that you can use in most situations or whenever you feel they’re needed.
It’s kind of like stocking your toolbox with a hammer, screwdriver and wrench. These tools may not be the only things you’ll need, but they will certainly get the job done.
Here are your three key tools:
Hammer = Appreciation
Express your appreciation even if it’s the smallest thing. I’ve never heard a couple complain about how overly appreciated they feel by one another. Don’t withhold positive feedback because if it stays in your mind it’s not real to your partner.
Screwdriver = Attunement
Remember to make your partner a priority, show interest, and when you’re giving them your attention make sure it’s full. Distracted listening, lack of eye contact, and “mhm” as a response don’t count.
Wrench = Action
Say what you mean and do what you say. Be assertive in your approach to everything without waiting to be told. Deference isn’t attractive or productive in a relationship. Initiate, make an effort, and follow through on your promises.
These are not magic tricks that will suddenly transform your relationship, BUT you will get major browny points for using them.
Want to know another relationship secret? Read my most recent blog by clicking here.
Hint: Solid relational health begins within.
Dr. Andra Brosh February 3rd, 2015