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Skills of Understanding and Being Understood in Relationships

The objective of this article is to help dating couples understand how to make connections with each other in order to make long lasting relationships.

By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.

Skills of Understanding and Being Understood in Relationships

Summary: The first issue in building communication that works in your relationship is understanding its importance to having intimacy. This means that depth to the relationship is desired over a superficial “good time”. People who have fears of getting close will avoid these steps until those emotional blocks are removed. However, many people want something more and don’t know how to achieve it. This article speaks to those people.

A sincere effort to improve communication when dating will lower the odds against later marital breakdowns of communication. It takes work, however. Here are some guidelines.

First, you must make it “safe” for your partner to be expressive. This requires trust that there will be neither a breach of confidence nor criticism or ridicule in the face of what is expressed. There must be trust that shared information won’t be used later to be hurtful or withhold affection. You need to know that your partner feels secure with you and won’t be threatened by what you say.

You need to then be able to share your feelings. You need to be able to share what you think, feel, believe, want, need, and worry about and to hear that from your partner.

Then there is “listening.’ There are two kinds–active and passive. Passive listening includes faking attention by pretending to listen. If you respond with, “yes” before the other person is finished speaking, the other person is apt to get a “not listening” message and stop talking. On the other hand, active listening means listening for meaning. this requires tuning out outside distractions and concentrating. This listening sends a message to your partner that you are in touch with him or her and not just the words.

Marital life flourishes when couples become friends and companions as well as lovers. Marital satisfaction is directly related to how much time a couple spends talking each day to each other. The conversation is critical to the friendship and the understanding.

you must acknowledge differences and accept them. Differences are healthy and can be negotiated if need be or simply understood. tendencies to be possessive or overly jealous hinder the relationship.Allowing your partner to express himself or herself aids relationship closeness as well as a sense of individuality.

Couples must know how to disagree safely and fairly. Often couples, fighting for the first time, get frightened by their anger and ease off before anything is resolved. this can make for a long, dangerous cold war. It is perfectly normal to disagree with someone you love and to get angry. Just don’t act out that anger. Denying the feelings slows down the building of a good relationship.

The challenge is to learn to argue constructively; this strengthens the relationship, actually.

First, stick to the issue that triggered the disagreement. Don’t revive past hurts or issues. Don’t criticize each other or attack the other person. Don’t resort to accusations or a “you-don’t -love-me” attitude.–it is the fight to find out what I’m doing wrong–not to prove I’m right position.It is based on understanding what the other person is trying to accomplish, explain what you are trying to accomplish, and then negotiating so that everyone gets something.

Handle the conflict when the two of you have sufficient time for it and when there is privacy. Explain your feelings without losing control of yourselves and understand not just your perspective, but your partner’s as well. Disagreeing in a way that is constructive–with understanding and avoiding criticism and blame–can create better understanding of each other’s needs and a greater feeling of security in a meaningful relationship.

Skills of Understanding and Being Understood in Relationships


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