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Formula to a Good Relationship

by Dr. Carol Morgan

If you are looking for the formula to a good relationship, don't look to fairy tales, because they can actually contribute to problems, giving people the impression that they will ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Because all of us were influenced by fairy tales in our childhood, our expectations of a good relationship are influenced by these stories. As people grow older, they find that their real relationships may not live up to their childhood ideals. However, a more realistic view does offer a formula to good relationships.

Listening to Each Other

The purpose of effective listening is not just to get information correct, according to researchers Ronald Adler and Russell Proctor, authors of "Looking Out, Looking In." Good relationships are ones in which each partner is a good listener and shows the other person attention. When someone demonstrates that they care, the other person feels valued. Partners in good relationships reflect back to one another what they hear in terms of content and emotion to make sure they get it right.

Mutual Empathy

A good relationship is one in which the partners show empathy to each other. This is a vital skill for a successful relationship, according to clinical psychologist Robert Brooks in his article, "The Importance of Empathy: A Significant Feature of the Mindset of Successful People." Empathy is imagining exactly what another person is feeling or going through. It is different than sympathy, which is just feeling sorry for someone. Seeing each other's point of view is a vital part of a good relationship.

Handling Conflict

Many people have a "win-lose" attitude when it comes to conflict. However, people in good relationships adopt a "win-win" attitude. The two people view themselves as a team and work through conflict together, according to Teri and Micheal Gamble in their book, "Interpersonal Communication: Building Connections Together." Staying logical and having both people share their perspectives is essential to being happy together. People in a good relationship are more likely to work toward a mutually satisfying solution when they handle conflict in this manner.

Emotions in Check

It is important to keep emotions in check, according to Steve Duck in his book, "Human Relationships: An Introduction to Social Psychology." People in good relationships don't necessarily express every little thing they are thinking or feeling, because it may overwhelm their partner. However, this does not mean that they repress their emotions. Instead, they step back and logically analyze why they feel a certain way and then let their emotions cool down before trying to to work through problems effectively.

About the Author

Dr. Carol Morgan holds a PhD in Communication, a Master of Arts in media criticism, and a Bachelor of Science in advertising. Dr. Morgan is a professor at Wright State University and is a regular motivational expert on the TV show, "Living Dayton." She is also the author of the book, "Radical Relationship Resource: A Guide for Repairing, Letting Go, or Moving On," a frequent keynote speaker, and the monthly co-host of "Dick Sutphen’s Metaphysical World" radio show.