Relationships in Marriage

Be Appreciative

Sadly, the MAIN cause for relationship breakdown is when one of the partners does not feel appreciated.

It is not financial hardship.
It is not the lack of sexual gratification.
It is not poor working conditions.
It is not the lack of adequate shelter.
It is the lack of appreciation.

Appreciation is not expensive to give. Just a right word at the right time can keep your relationships sailing smoothly.

Tell your mate how much you appreciate them on a regular basis. Be sincere and honest. They won't fall for flattery yet they crave for true appreciation. You got to accept them and their characteristics completely, and show that. A simply thank you is a good beginning on the road to becoming appreciative. Say it to someone everyday.

Learning friendship in marriage

Researchers who study couples and what makes or breaks them, say the best marriages harmonize. It is the constant reassurance, silent and verbal, and other forms of communication such as body language, written etc., that says "I hear you, I accept you, I understand you, I want you." It is letting a partner know that they are loved and accepted DESPITE differences or problems.

There's a saying: If you want a friend, be a friend. A friend is a person you can let your hair down with, be yourself, allow them to be themselves. Be there for each other. You can always count on your best friend. And remember, total acceptance, no pressure.

Let him BE him. You have to be able to be real with each other, no preconceived expectations. Letting loose once in a while, don't be wound so tight. Not everything has to be such a big or heavy issue. Lighten up! Play, have fun, pig out on chips and beer while watching the football game together. No pressure.

Be a good listener

Listen, really listen, often we are too busy passing judgments or thinking in our own minds what we are going to say in response or what advice we are going to give. Often they don't need or want your advice, they only want you to hear them, to listen!

Don't criticize, total acceptance, remember? (Although as his best friend, there are times to subtly lead them into seeing something that may be harmful to them, out of love)

Trust each other, without trust, there is no love and no relationship. Deceit and love cannot coexist.

Tell each other everything  - open up. It will make you close.

Empathize, the gifted ability to put yourselves in each other's shoes and feel what each other is saying and feeling, is a gift, indeed. It will cause the unconditional acceptance, because you can now understand each other.

Respect one another's thoughts, opinions, beliefs and the person in general. Without respect, there is a break down of love.

Best friends with your spouse. This is the ultimate relationship. To have love, life, happiness, contentment and friendship all in one.

Maintaining Relationships and Improving Self-esteem

How do you tune up your personal relationships?

Firstly throw out the old oil and let go of any critical or resentful thoughts that may have accumulated over time. Stop blaming, judging or criticizing the other, (aloud or to yourself) and focus on all the good and supportive aspects of the particular relationship. When you always focus on the bad points, things seem to get worse and you lose trust and confidence, in your relationships and in yourself. Flush those negative thoughts down the drain and replace them with new and positive thoughts of love and appreciation for your loved ones and you.

Close and intimate relationships with others are natural and can give us great joy or great pain.

Develop Trust

In any interpersonal relationship, trust is an essential element. Whether it may be husband/wife, friend, relation or parent, we need to know that we can rely on the other person.

Trust stems from keeping our word. If we say we will be there for the other person, then we should be there. It comes from being dependable, from being open and honest and not hiding things.

Trusting another person, earning and holding the trust of another, is basic to any interpersonal relationship, because without trust there is only doubt and other associated negative thoughts and feelings.

Develop a trusting relationship. Be there when you say you will. Be where you say you will. Be open, honest and frank. Become predictable and your relationships will prosper.

Admit

To err is human. Don't be too proud to confess and apologize when you make a mistake. Correction starts with confession. A sorry at the right time pacifies hurt feelings (and avoids ego clashes). Sincere admission of mistakes and honest confessions ensure that we don't repeat them, help build trust and shorten the effect of the pain.

Forgive

Nobody is perfect. Mistakes are just natural, so don't nail down too much on anything. When you are hurt, it is worth to be quiet (atleast for some time), don't discriminate and be critically judgmental. If this gets beyond tolerance, talk to your mate what you don't like and what hurt you. Do it politely and privately.

Accept Change

In nature, the only thing that is permanent is that everything changes, therefore it is important to our own happiness that we accept as a fact that "life is change."

When we refuse to accept change as a fact we contribute to our own unhappiness, while the acceptance of change can reduce anxiety and help us cope with the many problems of day-to-day living.

Deepening Your Relationship

Think of a behavior you each have that other partner likes or praises. Ask yourselves why you do this. Share with one another your feelings as you think about this behavior.

Tape record about an hour's worth of being with one another - at the dinner table, in the evening when the TV is on, in the morning as you are getting ready for the day. Listen to it together a few days later. Share with one another how hearing this tape makes you feel?

Work really hard at not interrupting one another. Try not to add your opinion until she/he is completely finished with what they have to say.

This weekend, try to not ask your spouse to bring you something, get you something, find something for you, or serve you something. Instead, offer these services to your spouse. How does their reaction make you feel?

Be honest with yourselves, and write down some ways in which you manage to instill guilt in your spouse. Try for one week not to use these manipulative behaviors.

Watch an old movie together, or listen to some favorite music together. Talk about why the movie or music touches your heart.

Go to the library together and select a book to read together.

Think about your past 10 years. Select two or three periods of time when you were really happy or when things seemed to be going right for you. These are the moments when you are really glad to be alive. Talk with one another about what made that period of time so enjoyable. How does this reflection on your past make you feel?

If money were not a problem or a consideration, what would the two of you be doing now or how would you be living your lives? Compare this to how you are living now. How does the comparison make you feel?

If possible, return to your childhood towns - either physically or mentally. Look for the streets you walked, the homes you lived in, the schools you attended, the playgrounds you played on. Share with one another your memories.

Make some time for the two of you. Find a way to free up an afternoon or an evening where you won't be disturbed by phone calls, children, friends, work, school, etc.

Now, go out and enjoy some creative romance with your spouse!

Talk, Talk, Talk

Talking affectionately and intimately alone can do wonders. Positive and encouraging conversation will surely have a warm and relaxing effect. The comfort level increases and brings you close. Nothing worse than a relationship which is formal or unpleasant, when two people live more like paying guests. Don't turn away when you are confronted with a problem. Talk about it, and acknowledge the change in your mate with appreciation. don't be demanding and don't intensify the talk. Crack jokes and laugh at yourself. You can compromise on anything for your relationship.

Getting Emotionally Close

Unlike most skills, we are rarely taught how to communicate on a deep level. And in our busy lives, we often share the details of our days rather than the contents of our hearts. Intimacy is a habit that needs fostering like a good tennis serve or cleaning the trunk of the car. And the results are far more beneficial.

Start small. And start with yourself. (Its so easy to expect "the other" to be responsible for communication and connection.) Avoid setting up a "serious conversation". Its almost guaranteed to build stress and cause avoidance. Its far easier for anyone to make mistakes and cause hurt under seriousness and stress. Be more forthcoming about your own feelings. Use the phrases like "I wonder if" or "Sometimes, I doubt whether I" or "I've noticed I'm happiest when". and watch out the most dreadful enemy - EGO.

Intimacy is built on feelings, not critiques. Watch how you express yours. State your feelings rather than your opinions on topics that are important. If what you're saying includes the word "that," hold back! Warning: most sentences of feeling that contain the word "that" - aren't! They're judgments! Use your smarts here. Think about it. Saying something like "I feel that she [or you)" is not stating a feeling - its an opinion. That's very different. Feelings words are words like: ashamed, embarrassed, sad, apprehensive, frightened, delighted, excited, nervous, serene, etc.

Ask questions about feelings too. "How do you feel about that?" is not the same as "What do you think about that?" Most of us express our thoughts far more easily and often than our feelings. Yet sharing what we feel is what connects us to another. When you've asked the question and your partner responds with, "I think" listen carefully and try to focus on the feeling behind the thoughts. A gentle, "Umm, I get your thinking and am wondering how you feel." This takes practice - for both of you.

Remember, a deep breath is a good tool before plunging in. It's not helpful to criticize by pointing out what's lacking when your partner shares. By far more useful are questions that get you both where you'll be sharing on a more meaningful level.

Practice courage

When you find yourself avoiding a topic, analyze why it's hard to bring up. Ask yourself, "What concern, need, fear or desire is attached to this topic. What am I trying to avoid?" You may need to ask this question many times before the answers reaches you through whatever filters you've may create to bypass a difficult issue You may want to jot down the answers. The first ones may just begin to lead you down the trail to what is really at stake for you. Look closely at the thoughts that arise. When you can answer those question honestly you're ready to bravely move forward. Know that successfully tackling these "hot buttons" builds confidence.

There's a sad truth about hot buttons. Usually the topics we avoid are those that need airing most. When you're clear on what makes a particular issue a "hot button" topic, take a deep breath. Develop an "I" statement to open the dialogue. "I" statements avoid blame. They are statements over which we take responsibility rather than point a finger. "I feel frightened when weeks go by without cuddling," or "I felt secure when you told your parents we couldn't visit until my big project was over," are examples of "I" statements. They open a meaningful conversation and invite sharing.

Taking Help

"How far can I compromise for the relationship?". If you find yourself or someone else asking this question, its almost guaranteed that relationship is under stress and is having a tough time. Things have gone too far. Adjustment doesn't at all mean that you have to surrender yourself to the other person or to situations. Adjustment has to be mutual. You need to watch out what is good and what is bad for both of you. If you cannot solve a problem on your own and you find yourself quarrelling with each other frequently, you need to take the help of an elder, may be a parent, an experienced person, a marriage counselor or anybody who is good enough to help you out. Choose a person who is calm and patient in nature, who has enough time for you, who can listen and understand with out bias, who is thoughtful and well spoken, who is reasonably close to both of you. Dynamism doesn't help in this case - in fact it speeds up the breakage. Each of you meet the person separately, express your grief, complaints, problems with out hiding anything. (The counselor is expected to maintain complete privacy of what has been spoken, even with the other spouse). Don't discuss these problems with your spouse till there is one resolution. Take a short break, may be for a week end. Visit an old friend, your parents or siblings or relatives. Chalk out a plan - short enough to put up with and long enough to work out! Keep working on it. It becomes far more easier to understand what it is going wrong, why one of you does something which the other doesn't like or accept. And remember, whatever solution, it calls for adjustment and commitment from both of you.

Be realistic

You can only work on your side of the relationship. And that takes practice, a sense of humor and courage. Like any skill executed with style and confidence, practice and realistic expectations are the main ingredients. And when you fumble, laugh at yourself. Failure is only feedback on how to succeed next time. When working on creating connection, remember to start small, start with yourself, be ready to laugh at yourself, develop courage, be realistic and be patient. And try and try again. The result is strong cement that binds you with the human race, one person at a time.

Finally it is the understanding, patience, respect, belief, adjustment all that play a important role in married life. We live by our traits/habits/understanding all thru life. Acceptance at personal level in daily activities is required. This may take some time. That's the gestation period for marriage by end of which one can have a slight feeling/idea of how their rest of life will be. One has to be committed for the relationship and should have the heart to accept the partner as they are whole heartedly.

Basic thing is one cannot change all of a sudden, but one should have a mindset to change. There should be willingness to make oneself compatible with the other. It doesn't happen automatically, we have to work on it. If a person is not too over ambitious or rigid about anything there is no reason why it shouldn't work.

A successful marriage is not a gift; it is an achievement.

 

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