When it comes to being happy and making your love last, it seems the key to long-term relationship success is open, honest communication.
Here’s 4 tips on how to do it better…
Confront your partner without falling out
“Use this three-step statement: ‘I feel… when you… because… ’,” advises author and marital therapist, Andrew G Marshall. “Keep the action or behaviour to which you’re referring specific and your tone matter of fact. Then give your partner a chance to respond or to go away and think about it.”
Make him help, but don’t nag
Listen to yourself, suggests Juliet Erickson, author of Nine Ways To Walk Around a Boulder. “Is your tone easily imitated? If yes, then you’re nagging. Keep it neutral and avoid definite terms such as ‘should’ or ‘must’.” Many couples fight over him watching the Grand Prix while DIY duties await. “Agree on a time-frame,” suggests Andrew. “Say he watches three hours of sport, but agrees to fix the blinds the following morning. That way you both get what you want.”
Learn how to ask for what you want
“Whether it’s with a boss, spouse or friend, negotiation skills are everything,” says Juliet. “Think clearly what you really want, but also be clear on what you’re prepared to budge on.” For example, your partner favours a holiday driving through France, but you’ve dreamt of two weeks doing nothing on a sun-lounger in Greece. What is a deal breaker for you? It could be chilling out in lovely surroundings, but will you budge on location? Conversely, find out why he wants to take the driving trip. Maybe he wants to taste all the lovely food and wine. Is there a way to combine the two? “The perfect compromise is finding something that delivers the essence of what you both want,” says Juliet.
img class=”size-medium wp-image-29771 alignright” src=”http://www.womanandhomemagazine.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/relationship-3-350×233.jpg” alt=”relationship-3″ width=”350″ height=”233″ />We know the basic rules of good conversation, but for success in a long-term relationship, the best thing you can do, according to Juliet, is listen well. “Listening is a muscle, and the less we practise, the harder it becomes,” she says. “Build yours up by ‘Listening with the lights on’ every chance you get. The fitter you get at listening, the better you get at talking to your partner or anyone else for that matter, even those who might make you nervous. Self-consciousness cripples listening by forcing you to focus on yourself and your perceived inadequacies. But the opposite holds true – focusing on what the other person is saying can help you overcome shyness and communicate better.”