How to make a relationship work – Reflections and Strategies – Part 2


1. Do not take disagreement personally

We are not always right nor are we perfect. There is a streak of insecurity in each of us. When someone offers an alternative opinion, we view it as a lack of approval; an assault on our character or a betrayal of trust. The more secure we are in a relationship and in ourselves, the less we view this as a problem. Would we rather hear feedback or information about a shortcoming from someone who cares about us or someone else? Would we rather be aware of a situation or walk around blindsided like in the emperor’s new clothes while others laugh at us? Silently ask the questions, “Why are their words bothering me”? Is it my ego? Do I have a feedback allergy? Do I have a problem accepting criticism?

2. Grow in different and similar areas

Be distinctive and find common interests to accomplish mutual development. It is important to specialize where we can increase our knowledge and skills. Our mate can respect and encourage us and vice versa. But, it is also critical to engage in activities where we can share and enjoy companionship and compatibility in the same activities.

3. Choose a different messenger

Realize that in some matters we are not the right messenger. Sometimes our mate cannot hear our arguments or for some reason cannot listen to us. We may not have the sensitivity, qualifications or experience to address what they are feeling. There may be an invisible barrier on certain concepts and conversations. Additionally, sometimes words are more acceptable coming from another source.  We may joke about getting experts to quote us so our words would appear more acceptable. This stresses the fact that we are not the ones to proceed or lead on all issues.

4. Explore and discuss guidelines for conflict resolution

We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can debate without hate. We need to know the temperament and philosophies of engagement to see how each party handles conflict. How do we respond when things don’t go our way and disappointment sets in? Agree on rules of engagement with guidelines on what is and is not acceptable behavior.

5. Don’t elevate things that are not important

Don’t argue about things we don’t care about.  We might feel the need to voice an opinion on something that doesn’t matter to us. We get involved in ego driven debate to make a point. Don’t argue as if it is a sport with a winner and a loser.

6. Don’t get engaged in future focused situations

We have disputes over things that are scheduled for the future. This is a waste of time. Both parties may change our minds or the events may not happen. Be careful not to argue something that may or may not happen. Fight that battle when it gets here. Many problems are often based on a failure to communicate properly and how we treat each other in a relationship.

7. Beware of arguing someone’s point of view  

Don’t become the defender of someone’s opinion. Allow them to wage their own battle. We may find ourselves acting as if we are the proxy for a phantom person or an individual hardly worth sabotaging our relationship. We do not owe anything to the other person if we unwisely decide to support their opinion.

8. Schedule vacations and date nights

A mate may love night life and exotic locations. Vacations may invigorate them and allow other people to clean the rooms and prepare the meals. Make decisions around this information. Remember the important days and show spontaneous acts of kindness and affection. We may want to write this information in your computer, telephone or the other places we use to keep track of vital information.

9. Divide chores and involvement in children activities

Successful relationships are partnerships. Studies show that most successful marriages involve both partners playing a major role in all aspects of the home. However, some people would rather perform a certain activity on their own. This is perfectly fine, as long as the couple agree on the arrangement.

10. State your commitment

Saying phrases like “I want this to work.” Thinking defection is not an option and instituting rituals to show our sincerity are ways to state our commitment.  Our religious beliefs are another way to help us become stronger in our intent and demonstrating our allegiance to the covenant with our mate.  Additionally, in a management classic by Robert F. Mager, managers were trained to ask the performance oriented question “Can they do the job if their life depended on it?” We should modify the question to ask, “Is this relationship important enough to us that we would do it as if our life depended upon it.”

Copyright © 2011 Orlando Ceaser

2 thoughts on “How to make a relationship work – Reflections and Strategies – Part 2

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I got myself in so much trouble, then I thought, “Why am I doing this? let them argue their point of view.


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