SELF HELP RESOURCE - Relationships / Couples

21 Apr 2017, 09:54 AM
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A healthy relationship is set on three building blocks: cohesion, flexibility, and communication. Let's look at how these different building blocks work in conjunction with each other to establish a great relationship.
 

Cohesion

Cohesion is characterized by commitment and balance between intimacy and space. Successful relationships including marriage involve both partners' commitment to the relationship. When partners are committed to investing in their relationship and are willing to sacrifice some of their own preferences for the good of the relationship, they usually have high quality bonding.

Fun time together is an important ingredient for the creation of cohesion in a relationship.

Research shows that the amount of fun time spouses spend together is a major factor in the happiness of their marriage. Sharing enjoyable times prevents people from getting bored with their relationships and helps rejuvenate them when they are very busy and preoccupied with other cares and concerns. It does not matter what the activity is, as long as it allows both partners to relax and enjoy each other's company. Togetherness in a relationship is based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time set boundaries to protect each partner's autonomy. In other words, partners need to spend time together and have their separate time as well. Partners needs to ensure that they provide the time and space to nurture their respective interests and maintain their own friendships apart from those of the spouse.

Try not to rely entirely on your partner for your validation and well-being. Nurture your own friendships while allowing the same latitude to your spouse.


Flexibility

We live in a world that changes quickly. However, some of us are more adaptable than others. It is also recommended for couples to assess their individual and couple flexibility when faced with change. In other words, flexibility is about adapting to the changing circumstances both individually and as a couple. It is about how you as a couple adapt to stressful life transitions and crisis situations like when one partner falls ill or loses his/her job, which call for adjusting to changes in roles and responsibilities in the relationship.

It also helps to be flexible in the way one receives information from their partner and be willing to try varied ways of doing things. It becomes essential for couples to remain open to the idea that there are multiple ways to resolve a crisis or manage stressful transition.

As Susanna M. Alexander says in her book Creating Excellent Relationships, "Flexibility is adjusting to life as it happens and embracing changes as needed, while remaining true to one's core values, beliefs, and appropriate priorities."


Communication

One of the biggest misconceptions for couples revolves around lack of communication. A lot of couples have an unrealistic expectation that after some time in the relationship, my partner would understand everything about me. Healthy relationships do not stand on this misconception and such couples put a lot of effort in building trust through communication. A couple should take time to talk and exchange information, ideas and day-to-day experiences. If as a couple you hardly have time to communicate with each other, do schedule a regular time, which is acceptable to both of you. It could be just before sleeping at dinner time or as you have your morning tea. You could start by sharing one good thing and one difficult thing about the day.

Partners can learn to communicate better by developing more effective ways of speaking and listening. The person talking needs to focus on their own feelings and not attempt to read their partner's mind. Listening forms the core of communication. Too often when we are quiet we are not listening to what the other person is saying but waiting to reply. Listening involves intently trying to understand what the other is saying instead of looking for weakness in your mate's argument. One must avoid making accusations or criticizing the partner. Instead each partner needs to share words of appreciation and affection that can foster positive communication. Active listening promotes clarity and understanding between the couple.


Conclusion

As you look at the three building blocks, cohesion, flexibility, and communication, ask yourself if they are present and thriving in your personal relationship. Take a proactive stance to make your personal relationship healthy and strong. If you feel that you require assistance or clarification regarding the same, speak with one of our counsellors by calling in at 1800 270 1790 or 080 42756888.

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