Good relationship skills are vital to health at every level. Not only do specific relationship skills make the difference between success and failure in personal relationships; but between living in a consistent state of harmony and a state of chronic stress or even illness. If your relationship lacks relationship skills, donâ€™t count on it lasting.
Beyond that, some relationship studies (Kiecolt-Glaser, Ohio State University) even show that people with poor relationship skills have weaker immune systems, suggesting that genuine emotional support from other people relieves the deep stress that compromises the bodyâ€™s defenses. Supportive relationships may have more impact upon our health and longevity than anything else.
Given the importance of relationship skills that foster harmony and emotional support, here are three relationship skills that are essential to maintaining a successful and mutually supportive relationship. If your relationship is suffering, one or more of these relationship skills probably applies. If you donâ€™t learn to do them well, then get used to suffering right along with your relationships.
Determine Compatibility. â€œThose with the most successful relationships take the time and learn how to determine compatibility,â€ says Jake Eagle, co-founder of Green Psychology. â€œThere are key areas of compatibility that simply must be addressed if the relationship is to survive.â€
Yes, determining compatibility is a relationship skill that must be learned. What are those areas of compatibility? Eagle suggests that people who are compatible in the areas of personal values, life dreams, chemistry and communication styles do the best over time. Whatever your metric for determining compatibility, it is clear that many, many couples find themselves at odds well after they have made significant commitments to each other.
If you have major differences in your values, life direction, and communication styles, the time to discover this is before you make a commitment. Incredibly, most people donâ€™t invest the time or take the risk of discovering a lack of compatibility up front. Whether or not they are truly compatible for the long run, then, is a matter of luck, not relationship skills!
Problem Solving. Even highly compatible couples encounter problems and painful episodes. In this arena, NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming offers the most relevant and important relationship skills for getting unstuck. The Perceptual Positions model is perhaps the most valuable, clearly identifying the three most helpful perspectives that accompany any relationship. When you understand how to move from your own perspective to that of the other person and then on to a more objective perspective, solutions become available.
Most relationship problems happen as a result of two people who have confined themselves to a rigid point of view. When you learn that it is possible to easily change perspectives without compromising your most important viewpoint, a whole new world opens up. You can more fluidly explore solutions and communicate with greater maturity. In fact, one definition of psychological immaturity is the inability to take multiple perspectives
Reciprocity. And hereâ€™s where it gets good, giving and receiving from each other. Healthy couples love to give and receive from each other. And the sky is the limit. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do for each other. You can give to each other gifts, time, affection, sex, help, consideration, money, spiritual support â€“ and so much more.
The key is to give in a way that your partner can best receive. Not surprisingly, most people only know how to give in the way they know how to receive. If I love to get hugs (kinesthetically oriented) I probably will give hugs as a way to show affection. Not everyone is kinesthetic like I am, however. So, getting a hug is not a big deal to a lot of people, and is even annoying to others.
When I began dating my wife, I was a serial hugger. After a while we figured out that I like to receive love through touch, but she likes to receive it through demonstrations (visual). Flowers, a clean kitchen, little gifts or thoughtful notes, going out to a nice dinner etcâ€¦are demonstrations of my love for her. None of those things do the trick for me, but its what she needs. Everyone receives love differently. If you donâ€™t give it according to their style, they wonâ€™t receive it the way you intend, sorry.
Now, I know my wife needs a clean house and she knows I need to be touched. Itâ€™s beautiful.
Reciprocity, the mutual give and take between two people, is the Queen of relationship skills. Without it, one partner ends up feeling used and unappreciated and when this happens, kiss your relationship good-bye. The most sophisticated form of reciprocity is the relationship skill of relationship skills â€“ informed reciprocity. The happiest couples focus on giving and receiving according in their individual preferences. What good is a gift to my wife if it isnâ€™t what she would want or appreciate?
Develop relationship skills. Beyond the very basic needs for survival, relationship skills are your most valuable commodity.