How many of us sometimes wonder why we have to suffer in our relationships? As a Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in couples I can affirm that most of my clients often wonder this very question. They wonder if they can ever avoid difficulties in their relationship and feel better with the person they love.
Here are three ways you can decrease your suffering and increase your happiness.
1. Disagreements are Normal – Get out of your head that a perfect relationship means that you and your mate never fight. This is a fallacy. Every relationship has miscommunication, disagreements, challenges, worries and two individuals who see things differently. These common relationship elements do not indicate there is something wrong. They are an invitation for you and your mate to figure out how to navigate them, and it’s important to do so. That’s what defines a healthy relationship; navigating difficulty as it comes up, not eliminating it.
2. Accept That You and Your Partner Are Different – This means that when there are disagreements and difficulties, know that you are right! And so is your mate! You both have a point of view. Some relationships are defined by one person coming out on top and being the “winner”. Other relationships are characterized by two people turning away from each other as if there is a stalemate and no one wins. A healthy couple knows that each person has a right to his or her opinion. That does not mean you agree 100 percent with your mate, it just means that you respect the right of your partner to think the way they do. Just changing this one element in your relationship can go a long way to stop the bleeding.
3. Stop Criticizing – Sometimes in a relationship when a person wants the partner to change they will criticize them. If you point out what you don’t like about your mate you often get the other person’s attention, but you may not get the response you desire. Most of the time when someone complains or criticizes, they are trying to get something different from their partner. Unfortunately when humans are criticized if feels as if we have been attacked and blamed for something. Think back when you were a child. If someone criticized you what was your response? You probably disagreed with them telling them it wasn’t true. You defended yourself. That is a natural and very human response. So criticism doesn’t work. Try telling your partner what you would like. Every person who loves another will move mountains to help their partner get what they like. It works.
Send Linda your questions! You can reach out to @feelbetterlive via Twitter, post questions on FeelBetterLive’s wall on Facebook, email me, or call (562) 708-4606. Whether you send them now or during the show, Linda can answer your questions live on Feel Better Live.