Psychotherapist and positive relationship expert Gad Krebs shares his 4 key tips for a successful relationship or marriage.
- Don’t listen to advice on how to have a successful relationship (at least specific advice)
Well intentioned people can dispense relationship advice, often unsolicited. Accept this advice and then ignore it. On the one hand it’s the case that those offering a sip from the holy grail of marital bliss are themselves struggling with dysfunction. And even where they do enjoy harmony at home, just because the advice works for them is not indicative that it’ll work for you. Each relationship operates according to its own norms and its own assumptions. This is a result of the unique personalities of the couple and how they engage with one another. What works for one couple may be disastrous for another.
- Never say “You never” or “You always”
In the heat of an argument people can shift their focus from specific, technical complaints- “You are 10 minutes late”- to broad all encompassing statements-“You’re always late!” Criticism can turn toxic when a specific issue becomes an identity; it not only who they are, but who they always are.
- Ask for directions
Most people when they find themselves lost ask for help; businesses engage consultants and the sick visit doctors. Relationships should be no different. Living as a couple will lead to conflict; this is inevitable. Although some disagreements can be negotiated by the couple alone, others cannot. It is at this point where a couple need to be mature enough to recognise their predicament and seek external professional help. Engaging a competent therapist during a crisis can allow the couple to gain a new perspective on the issue, as well as give them an opportunity to up skill themselves and learn how to address their own issues. Proud couples, like proud people, suffer unnecessarily due to their inability to ask for help.
- Don’t compare
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. If this is true for an individual, it is all the more so true for a couple. Many couples present themselves in public as devotedly in love, whereas in private they are completely dysfunctional. Envying other couples is not only exhausting, it’s mistaken. Learn your own love language and build a happiness that is consistent with your personalities and your values.