|Relationships can be a lot of fun. Being able to share unforgettable moments traveling the world, creating new memories, or transitioning through lifes ups-and-downs with that special someone can make life a lot brighter. Yet - as anyone who has even ventured on a first date, been in a 'coupledom' for any length of time or said 'I do' can agree on - relationships are also a lot of work.
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Investing time and effort into ones relationship is one of the most crucial aspects of a lasting partnership. As Dr. John Gottman notes, couples who are working on their relationship together are "continually making bids for each other’s attention—introducing a conversation topic, implicitly asking a favor, etc.—and the most successful couples are the ones who continually ‘turn toward’ their partners”. Therefore, it can be important to have strategies to use as rocky situations will inevitably happen within a relationship.
Let's consider some difficult relationship scenerios and pair them with helpful reading to set your relationship on the right track.
Want to self-soothe & reduce defensiveness during
Mindful Relationships: Creating Genuine Connection with Ourselves and Others
by Dr Richard Chambers
A practical guide to using mindfulness practices to enrich relationships, manage stressful disputes, and build conflict resolution skills.
Having trouble communicating with your partner?
Communication is one of the fundamental principles of any relationship (romantic or otherwise). Combining emotion management with conversation prompts can helps to solidify and maximize the bond within a relationship.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
by Sue Johnson
Based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) principles, learn how to have meaningful conversations to build or repair the emotional connection with your partner.
Looking for scientific proof for what makes a relationship work?
John Gottman pioneered one of the most extensive and influential research studies centered around finding out just what works (and doesn't work) in a relationship. Years of research in their 'love lab' led to the Gottman Method of Healthy Relationships which has helped countless couples strengthen, repair, and solidify their partnerships.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
A bestselling guide written by one of the most prominent researchers and therapists in couples therapy, this book is a must-read for any couple looking to strengthen their partnership.
Considering couples therapy?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) combines attachment theory with an understanding of emotion management as the greatest change factor in a relationship. Developed by Sue Johnson, EFT is backed by over 20 years of empirical and has been shown to have positive results for couples experiencing distress in their relationship who are ready to work together to create a lasting bond.
An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples: The Two of Us
by Veronica Kallos-Lilly
This workbook is intended for couples to overcome relationship distress and enhance emotional connection in conjunction with ongoing EFT therapy.
Listen to Hear.
You may have heard the saying "listen to hear, rather than reply" which essentially is a way of describing non-defensive communication. This active listening skill is often more present in parents who may be more patient in trying to understand their children, but it can be important to maintain this stance of listening in any 2-way communication encounter.
Instead of dominating the conversation with, open with a question or simply listen to their words. Rather than interrupting if you notice something you can share, simply listen and give them space to share. This can show a lot of respect for the speaker and create a sense of trust with this other person.
Try this tip out in your own relationship and share the results in the comments!
Have a great suggestion for relationship repair reading? Comment below and share with others how this reading has helped you in your relationship.
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