We all want successful relationships. Yet we recognise that no relationship is perfect and that there are fights and disagreements along the way. Experienced relationship counsellors will tell you that couples that have developed effective communication and conflict resolution skills are better able to make a success of their relationship.

Communication is key

Successful relationshipsOften as the years of a relationship go by telepathy and assumption take over from empathy and enquiry as the key communication tools. Healthy communication is open, and can honestly convey feelings and thoughts without fear of misinterpretation. Often this is in the nature of how we speak: “I think…”, “I feel…”, rather than; “you did…” or “you always…” Above all it is worth noticing that communication delivered in the context of the depth of the relationship builds on the way we treat each other through compassion, compliments, gratitude and the tone and body language with which we speak.

It can be helpful to do an audit of your relationship. When did you last complement your partner? Similarly, do you  thank them for a small tasks that they did for you? When was the last time they forgave you and how did it make you feel? Its worth reflecting how you talk and interact would you expect that in a successful relationship.

Conflict in a relationship

We have different thoughts, desires and feelings and they can lead to conflict in a relationship. Yet being realistic and being able to handle conflict helps. Ideally you will make it you and your partner versus the problem not you versus your partner. In other words, often conflict makes us anxious and we attempt to turn discussion into a win – lose session with our mind-set. Yet by learning to give each other space, not to interrupt, and to listen as much as you speak, you can understand each other to find solutions. This more empathic approach is often more acceptable to both.

Often when couples fight there will be landmines that makes the path to solutions difficult: name-calling, hitting at known vulnerabilities or refusing to speak. These are best avoided, take a break if it gets heated and you cannot stay focussed on the point. Come back when you have calm down and often you will come to a solution quicker.

Mastering communication and conflict can make a lasting difference to your successful relationship. If you practice the first each day, any time you have the latter you may find it easier to resolve.