Relationships are never as easy or as simple as you might wish them to be. The many challenges and hurdles that keep appearing in the love game have plagued people earlier and is still very much prevalent even today.
In matters of the heart, there are psychological reasons that work silently behind such challenges and hindrances.
Couples tend to commit some mindless errors, thereby, making matters worse for both the partners. And these mistakes are likely to make love a challenging game to accomplish for young couples.
What are the common errors frequently committed by young couples?
As mentioned earlier, couples tend to make silly mistakes while in relationships.
Some of the more frequent mistakes –
Unrealistic expectations of the relationship
Unresolved feelings or pain from the past
Being overly passive OR overly controlling
Difficulty addressing things directly
Fear of conflict
Putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own
Trying to change/fix others
Believing that someone can “complete” you or make you whole
Other errors of higher magnitude include sexual issues, differing values and being intolerant of differences between you and those that you love. Besides the challenges, there are good things also which you can expect out of such amorous alliances.
“He helped me to move past some tough times and challenges and helped me to feel more hopeful about the future.” -Vito
From a positive perspective, relationship challenges can actually help the couples to grow individually and work together for a better partnership by finding ways to overcome relationship challenges as a team.
How can you improve your relationship with your partner?
Despite the challenges, there are many things that can be done to improve your relationship.
1. Focus on yourself
You cannot change, control, or fix someone. You are not responsible for how someone feels or acts. Be responsible for yourself.
Cultivate an awareness of your reactions. Know what your internal conflicts are and see what you can change.
2. Stop blaming others
People often start a conversation by saying “you…” pointing out what the person is doing or not doing.
This typically results in the listener feeling blamed, becoming defensive, and blaming back. Keep the focus on yourself.
3. Be assertive and direct
If you feel controlled, let the person who is controlling know. Express your feelings at the crux of the moment when you feel your partner is displaying their controlling nature. You need to identify your wants, needs, and expectations from your relationship and express these directly.
Don’t expect the other person to read your mind.
4. Show appreciation
Show appreciation both for the person you are relating to and for yourself.
5. Pay attention to what your partner says
Listen closely to what is being said and reflect back what you hear. Strong feelings arise when we express deep personal issues.
These feelings interfere with our ability to pay attention and prompt us to defend ourselves.
6. Be patient
Be patient, maintain eye contact and give your undivided attention to your partner while listening to what they have to say. Also, try not to interrupt while the other person is talking.
7. Accept constructive criticism
Ask yourself if what is being said to you is true and, if so, see it as an opportunity to grow. Use “I” rather than “you.” An example of this would be, “I feel angry when you leave your dirty dishes in the sink and your dirty laundry on the floor” rather than saying, “you are such a messy slob.”
Also watch: How to Avoid Common Relationship Mistakes
8. Set aside time to talk and share regularly
Ask your partner what they need. Ask them if they simply want to be listened to and/or whether they would like input as well.
9. Negotiate and compromise
Things cannot always go the way that we want them to.
Try this exercise when things get heated between you two
When you and your partner interrupt one another or when you are not understanding one another
One person begins and has just two minutes to express their thoughts and whatever they want to. Towards the end of the two minutes, the listener responds back with, “what I hear you saying is” and simply repeats what they have heard. They then ask, “is that accurate?” The listener then takes their turn for two minutes.
Please note that some of the mentioned suggestions do not apply in situations that involve violence and abuse.
Under the best of circumstances, remember that relationships are always challenging, however, there are many things that you can do to improve your relationship. If you fail to accomplish this on your own, seek professional help to assist and support you.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jeff Schneider is a N.Y. State licensed clinical social worker and relationship expert in New Paltz, NY. He has helped people from all walks of life struggling with relationship problems, addictions, depression, fear, low self-esteem and how to integrate counseling and spirituality.
(Jeff Schneider is also listed in Best Marriage Therapists in Putnam)