Your Loving Other

Many couples are sure that learning better communication skills will fix their relationship. If this were true, why weren’t your communication skills a problem back in the romance stage? While learning more effective ways of listening, speaking and taking turns is important, research shows, it’s only a small part of a healthy, loving relationship.

Values for a loving relationship:

While we need the foundation of trust and commitment, we also need to be on the lookout for bad habits and our own immature reactions. We all have immature parts that stop us from using all our great skills. Over-reactions, pouting, criticisms, sour tones, defensiveness and throwing the blame ball sum up just a few behaviours to catch and extinguish. First step; notice if you are doing these things. Second step; stop yourself, breathe and take some time to access a little calmness. Slow things down and connect to your values. Who do you want to be in relationship? What do you have control over?

There are certain values, that if shared by a couple, can guide a relationship. They are:

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Responsible communication where you listen effectively, use safe language and show respect.

Protecting your relationship from intrusions (children, extended family work, hobbies…). Obviously, our children need us but that shouldn’t be our main focus. If it is, we can lose sight of important issues to resolve as a couple and our children will carry that anxiety.

Being accountable and doing what we say we are going to do, even if it means putting the toilet paper on the right way. Yes, there is a right way.

Take responsibility for your feelings, needs and wants. Your partner can’t and shouldn’t read your mind.

Commit to personal growth and development.

Among these values is the ongoing curiosity about your partner. Ask how they feel about their day rather than what they did. Nurture a friendship and play together. Not everything has to be so serious. Try getting together and not talk about the kids and recycling.

Share your dreams, your goals and challenge one another to get there. Above all, make the comfort of your partner’s nervous system your top priority. If they are upset or feel hurt by something you have said, stop talking. Turn toward them and give them your loving, mature reassurance reminding them that you are their loving other.

Dr. Allison Rees
Dr. Allison Rees
Dr. Allison Rees is a parent educator, counsellor and coach at LIFE Seminars (Living in Families Effectively).