Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Man And Woman Breathing

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Have you ever looked at what you thought were the perfect couple and thought, “I want to be like them.” Well it isn’t fate or happenstance. Good relationships have certain qualities in them. They don’t come prepackaged. Anyone can practice them, and indeed should. Here are relationship skills used by happy couples. The first one is empathy.

Sympathy is knowing how someone else feels and showing compassion for them. Empathy is really feeling what they feel, knowing how they feel and showing compassion. Don’t assume you know how they feel outright. Our assumptions without the benefit of reflection are usually wrong and may anger or hurt our partner.  You don’t have to have lived through the same thing. Use your imagination and walk a mile in their moccasins. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to be in their position. What are their concerns, priorities, responsibilities and actions? What did they expect and what occurred instead? Once you understand their point of view intimately, from inside their head, then discuss things with them.

The next is called emotional validation. When your sweetie is upset or angry, let them know that you understand how they’re feeling, and that they have every right to feel that way. Give them your concern and sympathy. You may think that they will be even more upset with you. The truth is they will likely calm down and be able to discuss things with you rationally and calmly. That’s because you’ve validated their emotions. Emotional validation is something we all need. When we feel upset, angry or frustrated we want our partner to understand why we feel how we do, and sympathize with us. When this happens we experience an emotional release from the tension we were feeling.

Lastly, use civility and consideration in your relationship to make it healthy and happy. Little gestures such as letting someone sleep in, flowers, a small token, a handwritten note, a compliment or a big hug can change the tone instantly. These things can decrease the intensity of an argument and give room for talking and working things out. Often couples get caught in a cycle of negativity. One gesture won’t change that. But if you develop a routine of civility and consideration you can change that cycle. It’s particularly powerful if both partners become committed in breaking a cycle of negativity and replace it with a positive one. For more advice read, Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills by Georgianna Donadio.

How to Write a Great First Message

online-dating

How to Write a Great First Message

Online dating seems to be the way a lot of people get together nowadays. Make a profile, upload some pictures and off you go. It’s a great tool and for some a fun way to spend a couple of hours searching and considering. But when there’s one profile you keep returning to, or someone who you just can’t wait to know more about, it comes time to message them. Some of us just freeze up. What do you say? There are others who aren’t intimidated but keep sending out messages and never get a response. So what’s the best approach? What can you do to make that first message great?  The first step is to actually write something. Don’t abbreviate or use internet lingo, use proper English. Double check your grammar and spelling. Daters on these sites want someone savvy and sophisticated, not a Neanderthal typing with hairy knuckles. Next, watch the physical compliments, especially guys contacting gals. Most women like to be told in person that they are beautiful or gorgeous, but online they want to know that you took the time to read their profile, and found something in there that attracted you. They want someone who is interested in who they are, not just their looks.

Just like everywhere else, there’s competition online. Beyond that, you don’t want to seem a flat, uninteresting dullard. Why not use a greeting that shows who you are? If you are both Star Trek fans, type them a Vulcan salutation. If you both like country music, hit them with a “Howdy.” Even if you just go for a “Hey there” it’s better than just a hello. A line from a movie you both like might work. Strike a casual tone however. Too formal and you might come off as a stick in the mud. Now include what you liked about the person’s profile, and what attracted you to them. What do you both have in common? Spend some time reading their profile and thinking about what would appeal to him or her. Do they like the same books, movies or music as you? Are they a fan of the same sports team? Are they vegan? Do they practice yoga? Do they have six dogs, seven birds and a tank full of man eating piranha just like you? The more things you have in common, the more things you have to talk about and hopefully, the better a match you will make. Use your commonalities to get the conversation rolling. Don’t be afraid to challenge them a little. Ask a question.  Posit a theory or give them some insight that most people fail to notice. Bring up something they might not know like a certain band they might like, a book that would blow their mind or a great little restaurant tucked away in a corner of their neighborhood. The more interesting, the more they’ll want to message you back.

Talk about yourself, but don’t brag. Be humble. Arrogance is a turnoff. You don’t have to write an enormous amount. A paragraph or two will suffice. Be yourself. Don’t be weird unless the person you are messaging has already shown an affinity for your type of weirdness. Can you be relaxed and funny? Go for it. Not sure how it will come off? Then just be upbeat. If you still aren’t getting responses check your selection process. If your search filter includes the words “Ivy League” while you barely finished high school, you might want to rethink that. Make sure the person you are messaging would find it reasonable to date you and vice versa. If you are only going on classic chiseled features, the perfect body, a prestigious career and high salary when you spend your days shouting “You want fries with that?” you may be setting yourself up for a fall. Lastly, be sure to be nice. Sometimes we try to elicit a certain response with something witty and acerbic but come off as mean or bitter. Keep things positive and G-rated, at least at first. For more tips on making your online dating a success read, Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating by Laurie Davis.

Couples without Children are Happier

happy-couple

Couples without Children are Happier

Those couples who are most blissful are childless, according to research out of Open University in the U.K. The study, entitled “Enduring Love?” found that couples without children, whether married or unmarried, were far more satisfied with life in general and felt considerably more appreciated by their partner than their counterparts. Parents who cohabitated but weren’t married were a little happier than those that were married. Over 5,000 people of all backgrounds in long term relationships were studied. Surprisingly, mothers were the happiest group while women without children were the unhappiest.

Having children did affect intimacy among partners. Fathers were 50% more likely to claim that lack of physical love was the biggest problem in their relationships. Meanwhile, mothers stated that they wanted to experience physical intimacy less often than their partners. This study found that showing appreciation for your partner was one of the biggest factors in making a marriage fulfilling. Giving compliments, thanking one another and other seemingly minor gestures added up to a lot. The takeaway here is that when a couple starts taking each other for granted, things go downhill fast. But if they constantly renew their love, commitment, fondness and appreciation for one another, their relationship will remain strong, sturdy, healthy and fulfilling.

The British library will soon release the results of this study. If you are a couple with children, or planning to have children, don’t let this study upset you. Instead, make plans on how you will find time to invest in your relationship. Perhaps have a date night where a sitter comes over or you leave the kids with the in-laws. If you know other couples with kids, watch their children on their date night and they can watch yours on theirs. Write each other little notes or texts at least once per day. Make it a point to spend some time chatting together, enjoying each other’s company without having to fulfill some chore. Thank one another for what they do, whether it’s their assigned job or chore, or not.

The real takeaway is that just because you have children doesn’t mean you should take one another for granted. In fact, it’s more important that you show how grateful you are that that person is in your life, loving you, supporting you and standing by you. Show them how much you care, a little each day and they will reciprocate. For more advice read, The 2 Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love by Heidi Poleman.

Do Guys Care what you wear on a Date?

outfit

Do Guys Care what you wear on a Date?

Almost anyone who has known a single woman about to go out on a date knows there is often no end to her fashion indecision. The bed will be covered with clothes, the ceiling fan and the closet door with hangers and still she has nothing to wear. Is this too girly? Too demure? Too playful? Too racy? What outfit will send the right message? What will make her look sophisticated, attractive and drop dead gorgeous? But any woman that’s asked a man what she should wear or how she looks knows that it is, more often than not, a complete waste of time.

Generally they have no idea and, even though they care about her and her problem, they really aren’t interested in the outfit unless it’s to cater to his needs. But if men don’t care what a woman wears, within reason, do guys care what you wear on a date? Match.com recently did a survey on this very topic. 76% of over 2,000 male respondents polled didn’t care what a woman wore. A skirt or pants? The choice didn’t faze them. Either one was fine. Instead, wear the outfit that is right for you.

Make sure you pick something that fits the venue you are going to or the social occasion. Also realize how revealing the clothes you pick are and what message that sends. There are certainly skirts that are risqué while others are plain and prudent. Tight pants with a low waist are sexy but also suggestive. To men generally, the outfit isn’t so important. As long as she looks great and fits in to the activity, situation or place. If it’s a first date, you may want to pick something that really accentuates your personality. Don’t wear something more professional if you are a free spirit. Send out your hippie vibe and see if he responds. If you are more the uptight type, don’t dress down to prove that you can be fun and relaxed. This isn’t you. And you’ll have more trouble later keeping up appearances.

It’s important to be yourself and project who you are so that the person can recognize that and see if that is what they are attracted to. If you aren’t yourself you are doing your date and yourself a great disservice. Lastly, realize that the guy is just as nervous about his outfit as you are about yours. He may not have all the fashion nuances but if he’s any type of man he will want to fit the environment, but also impress you too. “You look great” isn’t only for women. Let him know if he did a good job, even if his shirt doesn’t match his shoes. For more advice read, Comfortable in Your Own Shoes: The Building of A Confident Woman- Confidence Workbook- Dating Advice for Women by Gregg Michaelsen.

Positive Statements to Empower your Spouse

HAPPY-COUPLE

Positive Statements to Empower your Spouse

The best relationships are based on mutual trust, respect, love, physical and emotional chemistry and crystal clear communication. Of course, none of us survive in a vacuum and relationships will have to weather difficulties, both from without and from within, from the emotional baggage you, your partner and everyone carries with them. That said there are positive statements you can make to empower your spouse, who will then be rejuvenated and will empower you, creating a virtuous cycle that you can both benefit from. Instead of tearing each other down like some toxic relationships do, learn to boost each other up.

These aren’t things you say if you don’t believe them. Make sure these statements are true for your situation, and that you sincerely put them across, or else they won’t work but will in fact sound flat, passive-aggressive, even discouraging. Here are some things you can say all the time to let them know how you feel about them, and give them a little ego boost at the same time. First, when they do something for you, or around the house should you cohabitate, show your appreciation. Don’t just make a blanket statement like “I appreciate you.” Tell them “Thanks for doing the dishes” or whatever they specifically did. “Thanks for hearing me out. You gave me great advice on what to say to my boss about working overtime.” No one feels better than when they are appreciated. And they will return to favor, giving you a little boost. You are also encouraging them to continue this positive behavior.

Let your spouse know that he or she is your priority. This is difficult for some people to do. A lot of married couples invest the majority of their energy in their children or their career. But when it comes time to focus on their spouse, they come up lacking. This lack of focus, attention and love makes a marriage wither and die. Instead, cultivate a strong, healthy, robust relationship. Organize your work time carefully, make sure the children spend some time with your folks or the in-laws to give you two time alone, and make your marriage the number one priority in your life. Let your spouse know how happy you are that you married them. After a few years a marriage gets to feel like an old blanket. It’s warm and comfortable. But it’s also taken for granted. Don’t take each other for granted. Renew intimacy, romance, and care for one another and your relationship will deepen and develop further.  When they look good, notice and say so. Let them know when their outfit looks good, how their smile lights up the room, and how it takes your breath away when they dress up. Let your spouse know that you aren’t going anywhere. Let them know you will always love them and be there for them. You need to make them feel secure, supported and deeply loved. Make sure to continually show your trust, love, fondness and appreciation for your spouse and you will have a long, happy, healthy and well-adjusted marriage. For more advice read, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman, Ph.D.