Mind. Body. Spirit

Letter of Advice

Dear Couples,

My advice to you for a healthy relationship is to practice communicating effectively, to self-disclose often, develop strategies for listening to each other, place God in the center of your relationship, manage interpersonal conflicts, among other things in order to maintain a great understanding of each other. Effective interpersonal interaction is a rewarding way to establish a healthy relationship.

Having a sense of self-concept, who we are, aids us in interpersonal relationships. When we understand what drives our character, mood, traits and the like, we can better identify the ones for our partner. It is part of the process by which self-concept is developed and maintained. You should both disclose who you think you are as an individual and who you believe each other to be and see what you come up with.

Self-concept can be defined as an appraisal of your own attributes and competencies. This process should be exercised as often as necessary. You will change constantly. As you enter new stages in your lives and get older in age, your attitudes and views of various things change as well. You cannot assume that your partner will intuitively understand the changes you go through as an individual, although he/she may recognize that there may be some type of a change.

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Self-control, the ability to regulate what you say and how you act is an important skill to develop. Empathy, the ability to understand the perspectives of other people aids in showing consideration. Low levels of anger and aggression and the ability to take responsibility for your failings is another healthy habit to form. The capacity to control your emotions, urges, and desires have also been shown to result in healthier relationships because you are willing and able to sacrifice your own needs, at times, for the betterment of your partner and the relationship.

Listening is a pertinent aspect of a healthy relationship. Critical listening is listening for keywords or important information such as the way we listen to lectures. Empathic listening is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes as they communicate with you. When you two practice listening to each other empathically, you may grow a stronger bond. 

One manner to develop strategies for active, critical, and empathic listening is to give your partner your undivided attention when he or she is expressing him or herself. This can be utilized with verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. When you listen to your partner attentively, you will understand him/her the first time around. That will keep you on the road to a successful relationship. You would not need your partner to repeat what he/she has said other than to maybe clarify.

Words are powerful and have the ability to alter our moods, opinions, and views. Fundamentally, two major functions of communication include sending and receiving messages. Good communication generally requires that both partners send and receive messages in a balanced manner. I would advise that you speak to each other with kind, uplifting, and encouraging words.

Words are powerful tools. They can comfort, excite, and inspire. They can also cause pain and irreparable damage to relationships. Words have the power to affect attitudes because we subconsciously care about the views our loved ones have of us. Words also have the power to affect behavior. Some people may react based on what the people they communicate with say about them. Words have the power to affect perception by the tone and the syntax used in conversations.

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Emotional intelligence plays a great role in effective interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence is conceived as traditional intelligence involving emotions. It refers to an ability to recognize the meanings of emotion and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them.

You guys can build your emotional intelligence by paying attention to patterns of emotion that come to the same conclusion. If you notice that whenever you raise your voice, your partner shuts down, then that would be a sign to compromise and soften your tone when you speak. That shows you are exercising your emotional intelligence and are finding ways to solve emotional problems.

Self-disclosure is sharing who you are with another person or other people. Self-disclosure should be reciprocal in interpersonal relationships. Appropriate levels of self-disclosure exist in healthy relationships. It is not necessary to be totally transparent as that may leave room for error. There should be a balanced level of self-disclosure between you and your mate.

Nonverbal communication is also important to discern. Aid your partner in understanding your body language by explaining to him/her what different expressions mean. Over time, you both will be able to comprehend each other nonverbally. When you communicate nonverbally, some of these messages are conscious and intentional, but many are innate aspects of your unique voice or body that you cannot change.

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Putting God in the center of your relationship is vital. It is important to establish your spiritual belief system as early on in the relationship as possible. God’s place in a relationship is to counsel, guide, protect, and bless the union. Decide on where you two stand when it comes to church attendance, prayer time, devotion/meditation, fasting, etc. Having a strong spiritual connection with God and with your partner will create a durable tie.

Conflicts will arise. They are a part of every relationship. One way to overcome conflict is to ensure that you are calm when speaking with your partner. When your thinking is not clear, you will fail to communicate effectively. Things may be said out of anger that you may later regret.

You cannot undo the things that you regretted doing. It is good practice to think before you speak and react rationally as often as possible. Reacting otherwise can cause strife in a relationship. We communicate for a reason. The primary goal of communication is to share meaning and to connect with other people. It is a good practice to acknowledge and apologize when you are wrong. It displays humility.

When you speak, you carry a tempo, rhythm and have vocal intensity. Vocal intensity refers to the volume of your speech, how loudly or how softly you express yourself. Tempo refers to your rate of speech, which is how slowly or quickly you talk. Vocal rhythm represents the differences in the pitch, intensity, tempo, and length of word syllables as you speak.

Be mindful of the degree to which those areas change because conflicts do not get resolved if both parties are talking over each other. Take turns voicing your opinions in disagreements. You should respect the side of your mate even if you do not agree. Sometimes you may even agree to disagree. Communication should not be about proving who is right or wrong. It is about being empathic about the feelings of others and receiving reciprocated empathy.

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Gender and culture have a great impact on interpersonal communication. To communicate well with someone whose cultural background may be very different from your own, you must understand the customs, values, and characteristics of that person’s cultural heritage. One of the first requirements for understanding others is to be open-minded about foreign cultures and eager to learn how another person’s perceptions and behavior may differ from yours. It is important to respect, embrace and cherish what different backgrounds bring to the table.

Recognizing the limits of our own perspectives and experiences encourages us to learn from people who have different perspectives and experiences. We do this by respecting the specific conditions that shape our lives and by recognizing that only they can define the meanings of their experiences, feelings, thoughts, hopes, beliefs, problems and needs. It is essential for you guys to have a good understanding of each other’s upbringing. The way you were raised impacts the way you view life, your spiritual beliefs, among other things.

You should come to a mutual understanding of what you want for your future. Do you see children in your future? If so, communicate how many you would like to have and how you would like for them to be raised. Being on one accord in most areas in life lead to a successful relationship. It would not be wise to simply take things as they go. Structure is key.

Unless the differences between you are numerous, issues that can be easily changed, such as those related to daily routines or habits, can often be discussed and resolved easily without threatening the continuation of the relationship. It can be harmful, especially in romantic relationships, to ignore differences in major issues such as personal and moral values (concepts of right and wrong), lifestyle preferences, financial matters, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, and the raising of children.

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One of the most sensitive subjects in a relationship is finances. It is super important to have a clear understanding of how you will manage your finances in all stages of your relationship. Discuss how each party views money. Consider whether you prefer to have a joint account, individual accounts, or a combination of both.

How will you invest and manage your assets and liabilities? Be sure to discuss how money was spent and managed during your childhood as that has an impression on one’s values as well. Taxes, prenups, wills, and other financial topics are pertinent to touch on as well. Being proactive in being on one accord relating to finances is key in this arena.

Some of us, primarily due to societal norms, are conditioned to expect certain things from each gender. Men are expected to be providers, good with their hands, and keen decision-makers. Women are expected to be domesticated, submissive, and supporters of their husbands. Women are expected to cry and show emotion. Elaborate with each other on whether you agree or disagree with those statements. Be sure to share why or why not.

Share what your parents believed in or were conditioned to believe. How are their love relationships today? Do you wish to follow in the footsteps of your parents on some levels? If so, voice the levels of your parents’ relationship that you would like to follow in your relationship with your partner. If we do not want to be limited by the horizon of our social positions, we can learn about the experiences, perspectives, and circumstances of people in other social positions. That can be achieved by traveling to various parts of the world to view how other people live.

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It is imperative that you do not disclose personal information about your love relationship with other people. Especially with those who you are unsure your partner would approve of. Your relationship is your privacy. It is healthy to have someone to confide in when it comes to sharing on the dynamics of your relationship but it is not a good practice to divulge that type of information to many people.

It is easier to fix a problem when few know about it than to fix a problem that is common knowledge to all. An older married couple, a best friend, a counselor, or a therapist would be best suited to communicate with regarding your love relationships. They have insight, experience and the knowledge to help and not hurt your relationship.

When you gather opinions from people outside of that group, their feedback will lack substance. Sharing information about yourself makes you vulnerable. When others know you well, they have information that they might use against you in some way, and you may fear being taken advantage of. You might also want to protect yourself from criticism or rejection.

Surround yourselves around people who have successful relationships as well. They will give you the motivation and insight you need to get through any obstacles that come your way. Follow the tips I have given you regularly. Remember that a healthy relationship needs constant nurturing.

You will never get to a place where no more work is needed. There is not a finish line to a successful relationship because it should be ongoing. Success is about endurance, consistency, determination, and personal gain. Continue to yearn for those things. I am confident that you will find satisfaction in your relationship if you follow these tips.

In summary, healthy relationships are established when effective interpersonal interaction is constantly in practice. You must maintain a strong level of interest in your partner to grow with him/her and not grow apart from him/her. I wish you much success and a lifetime of happiness. Having someone to experience the wonders of life with is an incredible thing.

Sincerely,

Love

What are some additional relationship advice you would like to add? What are your non-negotiables in a relationship?

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