The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Throughout my personal experiences in dating, I’ve come to realize there are five essential skills couples have that significantly increase the odds their relationship will be healthy and fulfilling.
I want to lead into this list of skills by saying just because you don’t have all these skills does not mean your relationship is doomed to fail. These skills are like any other – you can practice and get better together.
Skill #1: Communication
This entails many things. First and foremost, couples need to communicate openly and honestly with one another. If you find yourself in a place where you are having trouble being open and honest, it’s worth exploring where that reservation comes from.
For example, maybe you had a lousy experience opening up in a past relationship. Maybe your trust was broken with an ex, and you never quite healed from that before this relationship began. Or, perhaps the relationship is just new, and you are both still trying to figure out the relationship’s dynamic.
Whatever it is, you need to master the skill of open and honest communication. Another caveat of communication is to be able to do without projecting. This means being able to communicate your thoughts and feelings while keeping your own emotions regulated.
If communication attempts dissolve into name-calling, blame-assigning, and other projection forms, you must work on your emotional regulation.
Lastly, learn how to communicate without forcing your will on your partner. Your feelings are valid, but so are your partners. Communicate in a manner that validates both of your truths.