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5 Tips for Working on a Relationship

Relationships are give and take for both people.
Relationships are give and take for both people.
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Being in a relationship can be tough. From business partners to friends, marriages and family, having a close bond with another person takes a lot of work to make it right. In a close relationship like a marriage or a business partnership, two people spend most of their time with each other. Factor in the stresses that come with running a household or a company, and there's a lot of potential for conflict. Many of the decisions made are incredibly important to the survival of the relationship. Making sure that both parties are respected and have a voice in any decision is the key to working out a compromise, leaving both sides satisfied. There are many other factors that go into making a relationship successful, though, and they all take little bit of work. Here are five that can get you on your way to smooth relationship sailing.

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No cell phones or distractions allowed!
No cell phones or distractions allowed!
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If there's any kind of conflict in any kind of relationship, then the only way to resolve it properly is through open communication. In fact, good communication skills can help to avoid conflict to begin with. When both people in a relationship exchange ideas and expectations using clear words, then the one thing you can check off your list of potential problems is confusion. When conflict does arise -- and it will -- use calm and clear language with each other. Communication is all about getting ideas across and that's pretty tough to do if you're yelling, interrupting each other, or not speaking truthfully. Take your time and measure your thoughts before you speak, and when you know what you want to say, keep it at that. If you let your emotions rule, you'll only end up saying things you wish you could take back.

 

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In any kind of relationship conflict, there's typically a core issue that needs to be resolved. But because this is a relationship between humans (who are fallible), there are probably also a lot of surrounding issues that will get in the way of a speedy resolution.

Many times, couples fight about things that aren't even the real issue because the core problem is tough to address. In these cases, fighting will likely happen, but it will take the shape of more mundane arguments. Once you sit back and think for a moment, you might realize that the issue isn't the position of the toilet seat, but really something else. Making your way through the muck and mire that clog up a relationship is necessary to get to the real issue at hand. Dealing with that issue is the only way to grow as a couple or partnership. It takes some practice, but try diving right into the core issue next time there's some conflict in your relationship.

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Pay attention; you never know what you might learn.
Pay attention; you never know what you might learn.
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There are two things that happen in any conversation: One person talks and the other person listens. At least, that's how it's supposed to go. Listening skills are vital to any kind of conversation and conflict resolution. Not only that, but someone who really feels like he's being heard in a conversation is probably more likely to remain calm and keep the back and forth going. Once someone in conflict feels like his words are falling on deaf ears, then problems start.

Listening is not only important to make the other person feel respected, but it actually helps you out as well. If you're truly listening, then you're not simply waiting for your turn to speak. Genuine listening skills will make your relationship strong and keep the lines of communication open. Work on your listening skills by taking time after the other person speaks to contemplate his words before you reply.

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Here's a tip for anyone in a relationship -- learn the art of compromise. People can be stubborn and headstrong in any kind of relationship. It's normal to have strong feelings about something, but unless you learn how to compromise, you're only setting yourself up for a long and frustrating life. Knowing when to give in some will serve you in every kind of relationship you can have in life. Most conflict scenarios can't be qualified as one person being 100 percent right or wrong. There are degrees of right and wrong in any complex relationship and that's where compromise comes in. Giving a little on each side will make both of you feel like you won. The key to any business compromise is both parties feeling like they walked away with the better deal. Compromise in a marriage is also a great lesson to teach your children. If they see mom and dad working together in compromise, they'll learn early on that relationships are all about give and take.

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One key ingredient in forging a successful relationship of any kind is to manage your own expectations. Nobody in this world is without fault, whether it's a spouse, parent, sibling or business partner. Problems arise when someone has set the bar too high for their significant other to achieve. Gaining an understanding that your own expectations for yourself may not be achievable by your partner is a big step toward relationship success. Many times, someone has such high expectations for himself that he feels like everyone else should as well. A father who was a straight-A student may need to manage his expectations when his son or daughter isn't. A spouse who has a type-A personality should manage expectations if their partner is more laid back. Just remember that lowering your expectations for someone doesn't mean she's is off the hook -- she still has certain requirements as one half of the relationship.

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Sources

  • "Crack the Conflict Code." Oprah.com, 2011. http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Cracking-the-Conflict-Code
  • "Healthy Relationships." K-state.edu, 2011. http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/topics/relationships/relatn.html
  • "Relationship Tips For Spouses Who Go Into Business Together." Askapril.com, 2011. http://www.askapril.com/dating-tips-relationship-advice-married-couples-working-together-507.html
  • "Type A and Type B." Changingminds.org, 2011. http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/typea_typeb.htm

 

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