By Tabasom Eblaghie,
Registered Clinical Counsellor
There are a few behaviours and habits we adopt as adults that have harmful effects on any relationship. We may have seen it with our family of origin, or picked it up from our friends and then brought them in with us into our marriages. Some of these include lack of communication skills, the silent treatment, avoidance of any conflict, withdrawal when hurt, and a negative view of life.
When we practice these on a regular basis in our relationship, we start to see more and more:
4) Eye rolling – (how many of us dislike that one?!!),
6) Mockery and
7) Hostile humour.
The above, in reality, use all of our communication skills to convey to our partners that we are displeased, angry, resentful and (perhaps) even disgusted with them.
We simply cannot resolve conflict or have a serious consultation when we are either giving the message that we TRULY dislike our partners or are being given that message.
“Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that that person understands you. … People can change only if they feel that they are basically liked and accepted as they are.” (Gottman, 1999).
People who are happily married LIKE each other. Fondness and admiration can be fragile unless you remain aware of how crucial they are to the friendship that is at the core of any good marriage.
By simply REMINDING yourself (sometimes on a daily basis!) of your spouse’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with each other’s faults and flaws – you can prevent a happy marriage from deteriorating. Keep a journal and write down the spiritual qualities you appreciate in your partner, and acts of kindness your partner extends towards you. Keep focusing and re-focusing your eye’s vision to one that sees the good. The efforts made. And then appreciate them – not just in your thoughts alone but verbalize it! Most of us notice but find it hard to verbalize our gratitude. A simple thank you goes a LONG way in developing a solid friendship, and encouraging even more loving behaviour.
Consult about becoming more mindful of your body language (those lifts of the eyebrows, the shaking of the head and those eye rolls!), your tone of voice (is it loving or is it condescending?) and the words you use to convey how you feel (be careful of those derogatory, mean and hurtful words).
Little steps towards liking each other create that long lasting love desired by all.