OK, my relationship isn't working. Now what? Part 2
We continue this week with how to save and rebuild a hurting or broken relationship. If this is something you want to do and need help in learning the process of fixing your relationship, then this week’s article will give you practical advice to make it happen.
Listening is probably one of the hardest things we do. We try to listen, but we start figuring out how to respond to what is being said. Couples fail miserably on this and have a hard time remembering what was being said. Take notes while you listen to your partner, and respond accordingly. Repeat often when you don’t understand what was said. Don’t pretend to understand when you don’t?
Trust. Do you trust your spouse with your children, your life and your money? If you're not sure, then that is a red flag. Trust is crucial in making or breaking a relationship. If it's just not there, then a lot of energy in repairing your relationship will be needed. I hear this more than I care to, but if trust is not in your relationship then you will not advance on to the next stage of fixing your problems. Most likely your relationship will end if there is no trust.
A caring attitude is another important ingredient in fixing your relationship. Caring people open themselves up to help and are willing to go the extra mile to let you know that they care for you. I watched my dad take care of my mother who had cancer. He was in the army for 37 years and was a WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam vet. He was a tough military man but the care he gave my mother during her illness was amazing. He showed me by his actions what it meant to care for someone.
Forgiveness is very important in healing a broken or hurting relationship. We all make mistakes and hurt the ones we love. I have had countless couples pretend that they have forgiven one another and yet still carry a grudge. Your anger can show up at the worst times of your life and bitterness, like cancer, can destroy your relationship. You have to let go of the things that hurt you and move forward to heal a relationship. Yes, there are certain things people just can't let go of. I understand that; however, don't wear it like a red badge of honor! How many times have you been so angry you felt you could never forgive the person who offended you? In all honesty, we all have been there. In a healthy relationship we need to let go of the wrongs done to us. That's where sitting down and talking about hurts can often prevent unforgiveness. Remember, forgiving someone is done for your benefit as well as the person you want to forgive. You're letting go of a hurt that you should no longer carry. So a healthy relationship needs forgiveness as one of the foundations for growing and repairing your relationship.
Understanding one another’s emotions is also a part of the equation. Sure, we all get stressed out when we don't completely understand mood swings, or we have misunderstandings through poor communication. The key to resolving most problems is simply taking some time and to figure out what the misunderstanding is. We need to try to understand each other and talk through the problem. I watched a couple argue in a grocery store over a bag of potato chips a while back. He carried a bag of potato chips to the cart and dropped them in the cart. She picked them up looked at them and handed the chips back to him and said, “I want the vinegar salted chips." He responded by telling her he hated vinegar chips. That's when the arguing began. She wanted her kind and he wanted his. This could have been easily settled by each having their own kind of chips. Understanding requires that you listen and communicate your needs. Give and take works well if you’re willing to compromise.
Physical attraction and chemistry is very important in a healthy relationship. I believe this part of a relationship happens in the very beginning. You may see someone who you’re attracted to by the way they laugh or smile. It might be the way they carry themselves with confidence when talking with you. It could be the color of their hair or their build. No matter what it is, it seems to get you to notice them. I have friends who are athletes who are attracted to people who work out by biking, hiking, or skiing. Don't just go out with someone (I am talking to the older crowd here) because they have their own teeth or hair! Not a good idea! Just go with your gut feeling when you see someone that you may want to get to know.
I have learned these attributes over the years and found them to be very important. You may have some that you could add to this list. If you need advice on how to fix a hurting or broken relationship then call Dr. Mike and set up an appointment. I hope these tips have helped you take the next step in repairing your relationship.
Dr. Michael Brooks is the founder of Applicable Life Coaching and Counseling Services. His services are affordable, accessible, anonymous and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. To avoid travel time and the comfort of home, many clients prefer to meet with Dr. Mike over the phone or via Skype. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Life Coaching and counseling for those who live out of the Denver-metro area. Give Dr. Mike a call! You'll be glad you did!