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Healthy Relationship Skills

by Sarah Casimong

Developing healthy relationship skills takes time, but good relationships are worth the effort. To make a relationship work, both parties need to meet in the middle to attempt to understand each other.

Learn to Listen

Listening is an important skill to have in a relationship. When listening, put your own feelings and thoughts aside for the moment to pay attention to your partner. Make sure you’re giving your full attention to your partner and not preoccupied with preparing your response or daydreaming about something else. Listen to all of what your partner is saying and don’t make assumptions about what he means.

Figure Out Feelings

It’s important to identify your feelings before expressing them. Some people do not stop to figure out what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way. For example, if your partner fails to contact you for hours, you may yell at him when he comes home. This will come out as anger, but it stems from your fear for his safety. By recognizing why you are feeling the way you are, you can better articulate your needs to your partner. When communicating your feelings, steer clear of the use of “you” statements, which places blame on the other person. Instead, use “I” statements (I feel hurt when ...) and focus on expressing your feelings, not on attacking your partner.

Communicate Without Words

Your body language says a lot -- sometimes more than the words you use. Your facial expression and body language can give a negative vibe. A scowl on your face and crossed arms can tell your partner that you are closed to communication. Show that you are attentive by leaning forward and opening your body language -- uncrossing your arms and facing your partner.

Show Empathy

Empathizing will improve your relationship by broadening your understanding of your partner’s feelings. According to “Psychology Today,” there is such a thing as “mirror neurons” -- brain cells that are activated when seeing someone else express emotions. While observing somebody else's emotions, your brain is able to imitate and react to that feeling. Empathy can help strengthen the bond between you and your partner. The study “Eye of the Beholder: The Individual and Dyadic Contributions of Empathic Accuracy and Perceived Empathic Effort to Relationship Satisfaction,” published in the “Journal of Family Psychology” in 2012, found that women were more satisfied with their marriage if they felt their husbands were at least trying to understand how they felt.

About the Author

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".

Photo Credits

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