Small things start to surface where you notice the other person isn’t perfect. And as the relationship continues on, you run into disagreements, arguments and you even hurt each other both intentionally and unintentionally.
So how is it that long term happy couples continue to be happy with each other despite all these challenges that come with time? If you’ve been running into setbacks with your relationship, here are 15 techniques you can use with your partner that the happiest couples use to prevent relationship problems.
1. Cultivate connection by creating a safe space for each other
When a person who you care about points out a flaw or shares something s/he’s unhappy with you about, your fear of getting hurt makes you prone to getting defensive. You may feel the need to protect yourself, which can lead to behaviors such as shutting your partner out, keeping secrets and being inauthentic. This is why it’s important during times of conflict that the both of you feel safe to have the conversation.
When you cultivate a relationship where you and your partner feel safe, the two of you are able to share sensitive things with each other without any judgement or condemnation. As a result, genuine connection occurs.
What to do?
Don’t forget to remind your partner during times of conflict that you are on the same side. This helps frame the conversation that the goal is more about collaboratively figuring out how to solve the challenge together rather than trying to prove who’s right or wrong. Doing this helps couples to put their walls down.
When your partner shares something vulnerable with you, don’t ask questions that start with “Why”. Instead, try asking the questions “What happened?”. Questions that start with “Why” automatically triggers your brain to go on the defensive. For example, instead of asking “Why would you do that?” you can ask “What happened that caused you to do that?”
Pay attention to your non-verbal language that may be preventing your partner from feeling safe to share with you. Avoid crossing your arms, being distracted by looking elsewhere or scowling. Instead, relax your body, maintain eye contact and give your undivided attention.