Week 32: 4 Simple Strategies to Strengthen Your Relationships
August 3, 2008
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This Week's Topic: 4 Simple Strategies to Strengthen Your Relationships
Does a significant relationship in your life sometimes leave you feeling stumped over the same issues? Perhaps you bicker over the same topic or find yourself wishing the person would change in some way. During a television interview, I was asked to share some relationship strategies to help strengthen partnerships. It's the little things that create a lasting relationship. But even the "little things" take practice. Here are four simple strategies - ones you may already know, but don't always remember or actually "do." Although I created them for a significant other relationship, you may also find them helpful for a trying relationship with other loved ones, too:
1. Focus on the good.
When we are frustrated, we often only focus on what's wrong. But putting things into perspective is one of the most important things you can do in a relationship. Pay attention to what's right - and appreciate it - then address the problem.
2. Don't play guessing games.
Ask key questions, listen and REMEMBER the answers. "How can I help?" "What makes you feel loved?" Also, say what you want and need. If you force them to guess what you want, there is a pretty good likelihood, they'll guess wrong!
3. Bite your tongue (and listen).
As much as you want to voice your opinion and prove your point, sometimes it is best to simply be quiet. It gives the other person the opportunity to be heard, allows them to "let their guard down," and helps you focus more on the goal of a better relationship than the goal of "being right."
4. Listen for the message beneath the words.
Don't take everything at face value (but don't overanalyze either!). Be sensitive to what your partner is going through that s/he might not say out loud. Sometimes they just need to hear that you 'get' them, that you understand. "You say you're excited about the new job, but your eyes don't have that twinkle. Why is that?"
When you focus on listening and understanding a loved one, you express love through your actions and open the doorway to meaningful communication.
Until next time ...
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Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
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