When it comes to having a happy and healthy relationship, there’s all kinds of advice out there. Some advice is good, and some not so good. We’d venture to say that most relationship advice is not good. How do we know? The statistics show that over 50% of marriages end in divorce (the rate is even higher for 2nd and 3rd marriages!). Then, factor in the serious relationships that also fail- and you’re looking at close to 95% of relationships that fail or are miserably failing and no one’s made the move to change it.
Consider then, that with all the knowledge, all the technology we have available in the world- that the rate of relationships failing is 95%!!
Why is it that 95% of relationships fail?
Chances are you may be in default-mode. Over time you got comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Or, consider that you haven’t really taken a look at where your beliefs about relationships came from. Let’s face it: Your relationship modeling from your parents is not likely not an adequate source for a successful relationship.
Okay, so what about all the information that is available to you basically instantaneously? The books, articles, workshops, counseling, advice…Tried that and it didn’t work? It’s no wonder! It’s not your fault most of the time!
How much time, money, and effort have you put in to having an extraordinary relationship? Because they do exist and you deserve to have one!
When it comes to relationship advice, it is important to think about the source. There are relationship “experts” who don’t “walk their talk.” Unfortunately, some also provide disastrous advice to couples. For example, one of my (NIcole’s) clients told me about going to a prior counselor who focused solely on boosting her and her partner’s sex life. My client quit counseling after the first session because she hated it! The counselor missed a key piece of what was keeping her relationship from blossoming sexually- many women, if they lack emotional intimacy with their partner, will be reluctant to have sex if the emotional connection is missing.
Trusting who/what is a good source can be difficult. Pay attention to your intuition if/when you hire a counselor or coach. There are some great coaches and counselors who are doing good work. My client’s old counselor may have been a good fit for someone else, however it didn’t work for her.
Many counselors and relationship coaches keep current with the latest research on relationships. We both love to read up on what helps or hinders relationships. Reading the latest research helps counselors to better help their clients. If a counselor is focused on sex, but the research says that emotional intimacy for many females needs to be established first, then your hard-earned money and time is going to fly out the window. I think though, even with being up on the latest research, that really good coaches and counselors are able to intuitively sense what a client responds to- or they’re checking in with them to see.
Many couples go to counseling when the relationship is in dire need of repair- and many of these couples don’t make it. They waited until it was too late. It’s like expecting your car to run even though you haven’t taken care of the maintenance.
You don’t have to wait until it is too late. We’re going to give you 7 powerful ways you can use to protect your relationship from divorce or a break-up.
How can you create a loving, healthy, and long-lasting relationship?
Based on recent research (Epstein, Robertson, Smith, Vasconcellos, & Lao; 2016)* there are 7 key relationship skills you can use to keep your partnership healthy, loving, and long-lasting.
- Communication. Knowing how to communicate in a healthy way makes a huge difference. This includes listening, keeping a majority of your interactions positive, and being open to sharing what you are thinking and feeling. If you want to read more about healthy communication, I recommend Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and the work of John Gottman at the Gottman Institute.
- Conflict resolution. All couples have conflict. This means knowing how to work through the conflict and learning how to recognize when it may never be resolved.
- Knowledge about your partner. Ask your significant other about their dreams and preferences. Ask them what makes them laugh and what triggers them when they are sad or angry.
- Life skills. These are the skills that concerns life matters like managing the finances, managing your health, and the ability to find work and/or keep the job.
- Managing yourself. This one’s more about self-growth and self-awareness. Do you know your goals and how to achieve them? Do you know your weaknesses? Your strengths?
- Managing stress. Not being able to adequately manage stress wreaks havoc on relationships- and also on the relationship you have with yourself.
- Romance and sexual intimacy. Making intimacy- sexual and emotional- one of the priorities of the relationship and not letting yourself go. Physical attraction, while it may not be the predominant factor of what keeps your relationship together, it is important for many partners.
Epstein, R.; Robertson, R. E.; Smith, R.; Vasconcellos, T.; & Lao, M. (2016). Which relationship skills count most? A large-scale replication. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 15(4), 341-356.