A Loving Relationship to Last a Lifetime

By Barbara J Peters

Want a loving relationship to last? With all the communication problems that exist between two people it is no wonder why loving relationships are hard to maintain. Communication falters on many occasions leaving the two people frustrated and disconnected. Being able to accurately read your significant other’s thoughts and feelings can make the difference between hearing wedding bells or a nasty break up.

secret to a great relationship

 

According to a recent study from Harvard University, “being able to accurately read your partner’s emotions and believing that your partner is trying to understand your emotions is related to relationship satisfaction.”  In other words: Empathy can be a secret for a happier relationship.

Developing empathy is a little like working out and building a muscle.  It takes a choice, each and every day.   Activating that “empathy muscle” takes some stretching.  Some work.  And sometimes it’s just plain uncomfortable. But choosing empathy is a skill and a habit that you can learn.

Want a loving relationship?  Try these 3 secrets.

Develop empathy. Get into his or her shoes, even if they are not your size. I was sitting with a couple today and the female was complaining that he couldn’t see that her friendship with a male friend of long ago was harmless. I asked her how she would feel if he was the one with the “friend” relationship of the opposite sex? She replied, “that happened a few years ago.” So I said, “and how did it make you feel?” To this she replied, “hurt, unloved and confused.” This exercise helped her understand intellectually and from a feeling level exactly how her partner was currently feeling.

Practice reflective listening. Listen for emotional messages and avoid defensiveness. Emotional messages aren’t the same as verbal statements – they’re the feelings behind the words.  Look beyond the words and find the meaning, even if the other person is having trouble articulating it. Then paraphrase the content back so that it can be validated for accuracy.  Instead of assuming you understand how he or she feels, let the other person tell you when you’ve expressed their feeling clearly.

Be willing to apologize for mistakes without sounding trite. Letting someone know you messed up and want to do better is a gift from the heart. Nothing means more than an honest expression of a wrong doing, an open admission of responsibility and a willingness to do it a different way.

Whatever secret you choose, make sure it is consistent. Doing something for a day or a week is merely putting a band aid on the cut. Do it from the heart and do it with the intent to make it forever. Relationships are not made in heaven, but you can be in heaven if you put the effort in everyday to get there.

 

Please visit Relationship Expert , Author,and Marriage Counselor Barbara J Peters

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29 comments:

  1. Get into their shoes even if they are not your size… Love that. It is one of my life truths, taught to me by my Dad. Brings back great memories. Thanks you for sharing that great post. Norma

    Reply
  2. Alexandra McAllister

    August 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Great tips on how to build a loving relationship! You always share such great info, Elizabeth. Thank you.

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      Glad you enjoyed Barbara’s Article.. I love to read her posts.. I’ve learned so many wonderful things from her.

      Reply
  3. Jeanne Rust, PhD

    August 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I love information on relationships because we live our lives in relationship! I’ve found that expectations are the one thing in relationships which can get me in trouble any time. If I expect a friend to do a certain thing or say a certain thing, and they don’t, what will I do? Get angry or let it go because it was simply my expectations which have absolutely nothing to do with the other person!

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Jeanne that is so true.. we let our expectation of others cause friction and there need not ne any.

      Reply
  4. Sherie

    August 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Empathy, reflective listening and being willing to apologize for making mistakes…yes, those are definitely the keys to a successful relationship. Barbara, love that you said that you “choose” to work on your empathy muscle. Right on! It is a choice, how we approach our relationships. Great post!

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      You know I love it too Sherie. I had not thought that it was a muscle and could be worked. I know that I worked with my children to try to see issues from another angle when they were angry with someone.

      Reply
  5. Olga Hermans

    August 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Love this Elizabeth…I love it what you aid in the beginning of your post that the satisfaction in the relationship is so much higher when we sense how sincere our partner is in relating to us on an emotional level. I know that, that is true. I believe that is also true for men, not only for us women.

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      uI thought Barbara was dead on here as well . It makes the relationship so much sweeter and richer.

      Reply
  6. Cathy | Treatment Talk

    August 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    These are wonderful tips for any relationship. I like your idea of building empathy. We sometimes forget how our actions make others feel. Relationships do take some thought and work to create a happy ever after. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      They Do Cathy and Barbara Does a beautiful job explaining how in a step by step way that is easy to follow .

      Reply
  7. Anita

    August 15, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I am so blessed to have found my soul mate. I never thought it possible until 6 years ago.

    Reply
  8. Martha Giffen

    August 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I like your point of doing things “from the heart.” If you can’t be sincere, the relationship will never work. Nice post!

    Reply
  9. Marie Leslie

    August 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Such simple and yet profound principles. If we could all do this in all our relationships, how much nicer would this life be?

    Reply
  10. Barbara J Peters (@CouplesAuthor)

    August 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this article. I really liked it and hope your readers enjoy the tips.

    Reply
  11. Tatyana

    August 17, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I think apologizing is often forgotten…People think it is above them and try to be RIGHT rather be happy..

    Goodpost!!!

    Tatyana

    Reply
  12. Catherine Doucette

    August 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Being willing to apologize sincerely is a big deal. you’re so right.

    Reply
  13. Amy

    August 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    In the educational theory of multiple intelligences, emotional intelligence is one of many talents someone can possess. I wonder if some relationships falter because one or both of the partners just are not naturally tuned into these things. I agree that it’s hard to have a good relationship without empathy.

    Reply
  14. Helena Bowers

    August 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

    These are wonderful tips Barbara! I love the one about developing empathy. It’s so easy to say that you know how someone feels, but unless you really can put yourself in their shoes, you don’t have a clue.

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      That’s the truth, Helena. I can say I know what it feels like and try to understand. I love that Barbara says you can build your empathy muscle. Practice giving empathy and work build up that ability.

      Reply
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  16. Mandy Edwards

    August 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Those are important things to keep in mind for every couple. Being willing to apologize is the most important!

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      They really are. I love the way Barbara lists and helps you remember what’s important in the long run.

      Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      it really is ..

      Reply
  17. Kim Hawkins

    August 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Empathy when learned is a blessing. To really feel what another feels makes so much difference in how you will respond to a situation. But do not mistake empathy for sympathy to the point where you jump in the boat and drowned with them. Feel it and do what’s necessary.

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      It really can can’t it Kim ? I love this article !

      Reply
  18. denny hagel

    August 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this article! The tips are excellent…and can be applied anytime to improve an established relationship…that’s the best part!!

    Reply
    • datingdiva61

      August 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

      The really can Denny ! I think that is amazing to think about too! I Love Barbara’s insights into relationships !

      Reply

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