Relationships between two people can be a complicated process. Whether it be friendship or romance, the first few months are usually filled with moments that are easy and connected. As the relationship settles in, the quality of the relationship becomes more obvious, and the question becomes: Is the relationship adding value? There are a couple of important issues to keep in mind as you think about your own relationships, and a few critical factors that will define the quality of that connection as well as what you can do to improve it.
All relationships have conflict. All of them. Sometimes it is an argument or discussion, other times it is full blown fights. Even if you are not “fighting” with your partner, what is unstated results in conflict avoidance. How you resolve the conflict completely defines the quality of the relationship.
Do you blame your partner?
Do you share how you have been hurt?
Do you become silent and resentful?
Do you share your hurts with others, but not your partner directly?
Do you get angry instead of showing that you are sad?
Do you try and pretend everything is ok?
When you are unable to resolve conflict, more conflict occurs. As resentments build, it causes the relationship to feel as though it is going rapidly into quicksand.
In order to build trust, there is one critical factor that you can do to consistently improve the relationship. Accept responsibility. Asking yourself: What are my partner’s concerns? What can I do to let my partner know that I have heard those concerns? When you accept responsibility you create emotional attunement. When you are consistently navigating the relationship based on that one principle, you build respect and affection. Then, as that happens more reliably, you help to put the relationship in a place where your partner feels more grateful for what you have done and how you respond. If you emphasize their faults, it will destruct any efforts towards this building of emotional reliability. By turning to your partner’s needs you rebuild the friendship in the relationship, and you create a “love roadmap” to understand who your partner is and creating a greater sense of depth in the emotional intimacy that you share.
Now, ask yourself: What does my partner need in the relationship today?