This means preparing to listen to hear the message of your partner and not to prepare your defense. Find a time and place where you can be without distractions and focus only on what your partner is saying. Try to set aside your negative perceptions about his or her actions or motives so you can focus on the conversation in real time.
Communication is not about blame, it is about responsibility. “I” statements start with how you are feeling about the behavior or action of your partner. It means you take ownership of your feelings and also suggest a way to improve the behavior. The focus is not to tell your partner the action is bad, just to share your own experience of it.
Your relationship should be based on mutual respect and love, not fear. A soft voice reflects the love, compassion and understanding that is missing from yelling. Meet your partner’s eyes and speak from a place of love and understanding. Disagreements don’t require anger and yelling to resolve.
Save harsh words, even during arguments. You can’t take back what’s been said. When you say something hurtful to your partner you send the message that a disagreement is equivalent to a war. You are on the same side.
It is a relationship myth that a solid relationship does not require work. Be prepared to put the work in. You can accomplish this by addressing any problems with your partner before they rear to their ugly heads.
Pick your battles wisely. Not every issue needs to turn into a battle. There will be some that need to be talked out, others that go unsaid and finally some that just end up not being important compared to what you gain from the relationship.
Relationships are about the “we” and not the “I” or “you”. Focus on honest communication to work through problems together with room for each of you to give and take. Learn from one another instead of working against one another.
Be sure to clearly define what you need from a partner and what you intend to give to your partner. Follow through on your obligations to your partner and speak up when he or she isn’t doing the same in a constructive manner.
This is one area that can be very dangerous if you ignore it until it becomes a bigger issue. Make sure you share financial values early on in the relationship. If you want to save for the future while your partner lives for the moment, this may not end up lasting long term
This includes giving your partner the same level of respect and attention you did from the start. Many relationships end as one partner just stops respecting the value or feelings of the partner and fall into old habits they never would have done early on.
Never lose sight of how important trust is to keep your relationship healthy. When one or the other partner is not trustworthy, doubt creeps into the relationship.
You cannot expect another person to complete you or to be everything that you are. It is healthy to share interests and to also maintain some activities you do apart. When you enter into a partnership you become a team but each part of the team will gain something from also taking time to be an individual.
Support these dreams and also recognize you cannot make all of them come true. You are there to love and encourage their dreams, not to take responsibility for achieving them.