This this a question that everyone has already asked themselves, in some form or another: "How to cultivate a good relationship as a couple?"
It is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. It's the real big reason why we suffer, it's the foundation of everything else; it is the reason why we need psychological help, why we harbor emotional anguish: relationships.
The “I” in the relationship with the other can get lost, confused, explode, ruminate, hide and suffer. And love. And connect, explore, grow, feel, feel, feel.
But this process of transforming an “I” into a “We” rarely takes place without turbulence. Let's explore the most common path stones in romantic relationships.
Transform the "I" into a "WE"
Whether we've been dating casually for years or we've only met a person for a few weeks and we feel incredibly passionate, making a commitment to someone is a very important step. Building a life together involves creating a “we” and approaching a relationship from that perspective of a couple - this implies a well-aware intention and willingness to explore each other's hopes and expectations, dreams and goals.
In this adventure, there are some points to consider:
The difference between dreams and goals
Individual expectations for life together
The meaning of trust and commitment
How to give 100% in the relationship (and what it can do for both of you)
How to create connection rituals (that are agreed upon and maintained for the long term)
Is it or is it not a good idea to discuss these points together?
Here, we enter what is one of the most crucial components of a relationship as a couple: COMMUNICATION (!!).
Listening to comprehend
How many times have you felt that someone you're trying to talk to isn't really listening and is just impatiently waiting for their turn to be able to talk by responding with a personal story?
How did you feel at that moment?
It's not nice, right?
And now think about how many times you've approached a conversation that same way, can't wait for the other person to finish a sentence so you can give the answer that's been bubbling in your mind for (too long) seconds, ready to be spoken? In these situations, were you really listening? Did you make room for the person's words to settle in your mind and the meaning to be truly understood? Or did you simply assumed that you knew where the other's reasoning was going (because you knows the person sooo well! (to be read ironically) and immediately realized "what they meant".
LISTENING is a skill that is trained and developed through practice, especially in romantic relationships.
The next time you notice that you are making assumptions or that you are disconnecting from the conversation and paying attention solely to your thoughts/judgments about the other person's words, try choosing CURIOSITY. That's it: be curious! Ask yourself: What is my partner really saying? Can I ask them to explain more what they are telling me so I can understand better? What can I ask to delve into your inner world?
Listen to understand and see how much you can find out about your partner.
We all need to express ourselves and being in a commitment to someone implies that we have certain expectations regarding the support we expect to receive from the other. We often want our partner to hear us - nothing else. Other times, we need to listen to opinions and advice, to propose more practical solutions to some problem that haunts us.
However, this is the easy-to-understand perspective. Let's now switch places and put ourselves in each other's shoes. So what can I do to support my partner when he wants to express himself or let off steam?
Here are three techniques you can use in your conversations:
Ask directly, "Do you need me to just listen or do you want me to help you think about what you can do next?" - this powerful question can set the tone for the entire conversation and make your partner feel supported.
Validate your partner's emotions and express support and empathy.
Ask open-ended questions, for example, “How was your day? Do you want to talk about it?” and respect if they are not in the mood to talk at that moment.
Of course, there are many other aspects to consider when we are cultivating the “We”, but assertive communication tends to be one of the most common difficulties in a relationship as a couple.
What is missing from conversations with your partner?
Identify the gaps and focus on filling them so that both feel listened to and, consequently, understood and supported in the relationship.