Seven Keys to Healthy Relationships

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Key Five : Communication is essential to achieve intimacy. Becoming more transparent is one way to allow others to really know who we are and what we desire from life. However, the closer people get and the more time they spend together, the more likely arguments will occur. Use the love languages introduced in the previous Key about LOVE. Clear communications, without shame or blame, without attack or defense, are essential ingredients for healthy relationships at home or at work.

Actions: Make an effort to pre-determine talking rules before there are any conflicts.

Determine how each person prefers to communicate depending on given circumstances.

Both parties in any disagreements need to fight fair in the appropriate time and place.

For instance: If one person is a “yeller” the other person needs to accept that will probably not change, and that it is healthy to “follow the charge” all the way through.

If one needs space to think in the midst of an argument, the other person must give them that space or nothing will ever be settled.

Use statements that begin with “I” rather then “You.”

For example: “I don’t like when you _____.” is better than “You always _______.”

Another model is: “When you (state the action), I feel (state your emotion).”

Once ground rules are agreed upon, keep the lines of communication open.

Example: Chris is learning that tangible gifts are Sandy’s way of showing symbolic love. The giving of a gift is one way to receive love and acceptance. At first, Chris was ambivalent about some of the gifts. They did not seem appropriate to satisfy particular wishes and desires and Chris let Sandy know about the dissatisfaction. Over time, Chris realized that GIFTS are one of Sandy’s love languages, and came to understand the deeper meaning behind them. As this was communicated between them, Chris became more loving when receiving the gifts, and Sandy can feel more acceptance and appreciation when giving them. The more they were able to talk about this, the more appropriate the gifts became.

Reflection: Open and honest communication can make or break relationships. In what ways do you misunderstand when people give you their gifts? If someone refuses to engage in conflict what other solutions can they offer? What do you think will happen if differences are ignored and not dealt with when they first occur?

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About Suzann Robins

I am an expert relationship coach and professional speaker on the topic of personality dynamics and the effect that have on relationships at home and at work. As a tai chi and yoga instructor, and a social science professor I have written a book that synthesizes Eastern Philosophy with Western Psychology.