There is a relationship epidemic. One out of every two first marriages end in divorce and the statistics are even worse for second and third marriages. One out of every two children comes from a divorced, single parent, or a blended family home.
Too many relationships start with good intentions and good will and invariably end in a battle of wills where nobody wins. Relationships involve very sensitive and complicated dynamics. Most typically, we have no training and little understanding about what makes relationships successful, meaningful and enduring. When relationships falter, the enemy is the problem, not your partner. The goal is for the RELATIONSHIP TO WIN. For this to happen, we must learn effective relationships skills and the logic of love.
Most basically, successful relationships include four sets of skills that:
- Enable partners to systematically acquire information about themselves, their relationship dynamics and personal relationship patterns.
- Help build a “safe space” in which new information can be shared in a caring and respectful way.
- Develop new speaking and listening skills that focus on and validate each partners’ thoughts, feelings, and desires in order to create empathy and “shared meaning” about what the experiences of each partner really mean for the relationship.
- Enable each partner to truly appreciate the unique and special qualities each bring to the relationship and to keep the relationship vibrant, intimate, passionate, and filled with positive and loving feelings.
With these skills, individual difference and even conflict can actually become a source of growth that bring partners closer together. How wonderful!