Relationship skills

Good relationships can happen when two people are friends with each other

They enjoy spending time together.
They are happy to be together.
They look after each other.
They forgive each other.
They talk to each other.
They listen to each other.

Another word for relationship is union. Two people can be united in a strong, healthy relationship (United they will stand, but divided they might fall).

Relationship skills
Relationship skills

It is easier to have a healthy relationship if both people are happy and on top of things in their life, but life is not always this simple. People have to put some work into keeping a relationship. There are times when one partner has to be helpful to the other partner, and to give more and get less. This balances out over time in relationships that are fair and equal.

Having good relationship skills makes this process much easier.

Some parts of a good relationship:

  • Friendliness
  • Fairness
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Faithfulness
  • Love
  • Intimacy
  • Care and compassion
  • Time for each other
  • Spiritual closeness

Friendliness

Friendliness is a way of showing other people that you can be a nice person to be with. People who are friendly with each other have a much better time than those who live together but are enemies over some things.

You might wonder why friendliness is on a list of relationship skills. Well, friends do things for each other without complaining. They look out for each other. Friends accept each other’s weaknesses. Friends listen to each other.

You can gain a lot by being friends with your partner, who will then more likely be friendly to you.

Fairness

Fairness means being just and even in things. This means giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming that they are guilty.

To be fair means to listen to what your partner has to say without wanting to stop and give your opinion. People who are fair with each other do not use violence or abuse to get their way. Both partners are equal in a fair relationship.

Respect

When you respect someone you show that you have high regard for that person. To respect your partner means that you admire them for who they are, and you value them. People who are treated with respect tend to feel good and their self-esteem and confidence grows. If you treat you partner with respect you are showing that you honour your partner.

Trust

People who trust each other believe in each other. They have confidence in each other, and know they can rely on each other to be faithful.

To trust your partner is to accept without needing proof that he or she is being truthful.

Trust in a relationship means that both partners will always be there for each other, at all times including when they are apart for either short or longer periods.

When you trust your partner you never need to worry about what he or she may be doing.

Loyalty

Loyalty in a relationship means to be faithful and true to each other at all times.

When two people are loyal to each other they will not allow others to put their partner down in any way, and they will never say critical or nasty things about their partners. They stand up for their partner, and stand with their partner.

Partners who are loyal to each other will stick together through good times and hard times.

Honesty

Honesty means being sincere and truthful in everything you do. People who are honest with each other are open about things, and genuine. They do not keep harmful secrets from each other.

Honesty in one person encourages honesty in another person. When two people are honest with each other their confidence in the relationship grows.

If you show that you are honest, your partner is more likely to trust you. Honesty means that sometimes you have to admit to mistakes.

Faithfulness

When you are faithful to your partner, you are free from having to hide anything because you have nothing to hide. Faithfulness is a priceless gift that you can give to your partner.

To be faithful means that you would never do anything to hurt or betray your partner. Sometimes it is hard to remain faithful when temptation comes your way. Your ability to resist temptation is a sign of your strength of character, and it shows how much respect you have for your partner.

Love

Love is often seen as the most important part of a relationship. Love between two people means many things. There is patience and kindness, and they never give up on caring for each other.

Love is a feeling of warm affection and fondness towards the other person. There is also a feeling of tenderness. If you love another person you like to be with that person, and enjoy their company.

Love means to accept the other person warts and all. If you truly love your partner you may find it easier to forget about things from the past that normally might make you jealous or angry.

Intimacy

Intimacy in a relationship is about the things that two people share with each other, and no one else. There are some things that are private between two people. Intimacy is that special closeness where things are known without having to be said, like knowing that your partner’s back needs rubbing without being asked.

Intimacy includes the sexual part of the relationship, but sex is just a part of intimacy. Intimacy is the unspoken bond between two people that allows them to feel good in each other’s company. Read more about intimacy.

Care and compassion

To have care and compassion for your partner is to feel concern for them, and to show interest in what they do and say. When you care for someone you take notice of that person, and of what is happening to him or her.

There are times when one partner needs to look after the other, for instance if that person is sick or under some kind of stress. To care for someone is to attend to his or her needs, even if you have to put yourself out to do so.

Time for each other

It is hard to have a good relationship without spending time together. People say that communication is the key to relationships, and it takes time to communicate in a way that leaves both partners happy and satisfied.

Time for each other means taking time to listen to what needs to be said. This means putting aside other things so that nothing gets in the way of talking and listening to each other.

To make time for your partner means that you might have to give up or put off doing other things that might be more attractive.

Spiritual closeness

All people have a spiritual side to their nature. Some people are very aware of their spirituality, while others are not. No matter what, when you are in a close relationship with another person your spiritual sides will meet.

The spiritual closeness of a couple is what binds you together. At times when you are apart you can be united in spirit by thinking of each other.

If you are angry with your partner, your spiritual side can help you to forget about yourself and think about your partner in a positive way, perhaps even by saying a short prayer for him or her. Your spiritual closeness will help both of you through the hard times.

Relationship skills: Things to do for each other

  • Have good communication with each other.
  • Be fair about putting your partner’s needs before yours.
  • Never be violent or abusive in any way.
  • Laugh about things as much as possible.
  • Allow your partner to have feelings, and to talk about them.
  • Admit to your own feelings, and talk about them.
  • Have a good sex life that is enjoyed by both of you.
  • Build up your partner’s self-esteem.
  • Never put your partner down when you talk about your partner to other people.
  • Settle your differences before they build up.
  • Make sure you spend quality time together.
  • Accept the fact that you and your partner will see some things differently.
  • Do your fair share of the housework

Communication

What is good communication?

Some people might say good communication is when everyone else shuts up so you have a chance to speak! This is true in a way because good communication begins when you listen.

Communication is a two-way thing. When one person speaks, the other listens. It is very hard to communicate if both speak at the same time. Take a look at our article on effective communication.

Attitude

What really counts in communication is your attitude. Your attitude can be for the other person, against the other person, or you may not care one way or the other.

If you have a positive attitude towards your partner you will find it much easier to communicate, because you will be interested in what is said. If you have a negative attitude or you couldn’t care less, you are not going to do so well.

We all have an attitude towards the other person when we are communicating. It is like watching TV — if we are interested in what is showing we are more likely to watch closely and not let anything distract us.

Attitudes can be affected by:

  • how you feel
  • what you think, and
  • what you believe.

Feelings

How you feel about your self and how you feel about the other person affects your communication.

If you feel good about your self, it is easier to say what is on your mind as well as to listen to your partner.

If you feel good about your partner, it is easier to listen to what he or she has to say.

Do some work on your emotional awareness. Notice what happens in your body when you feel a certain way. Share your feelings with your partner.

Thoughts

How and what you think about your partner affects the way you talk with that person.

If you think your partner is worth talking to, you will show this by your respect for what he or she has to say.

If you think good thoughts about your partner you will find it easier to communicate because you will have an open mind that will not be distracted by bad thoughts. If you trust your partner you will find it easier to have an open mind about things that are said.

Beliefs

What you believe about your self and your partner has a big influence on your attitude and your communication. Beliefs are usually very strong and most people stand by what they believe.

If you believe in your self and your partner you are more likely to accept without question what is being said. If you believe that your partner is on your side then your communication will get better.

Take a look at your beliefs. How do they differ from those of your partner? What are some basic concepts you’ve always taken for granted?

Communication skills

Communication skills are easy to learn, and they are best used when you have a positive or supportive attitude towards your partner.

The main point of good communication is to make sure that both persons feel that they have been listened to and understood. Then it is mostly just a process of talking things through until the matter is finished with and both people are satisfied that this is so.

The skills are divided into two areas:

  1. Your ability to talk openly and honestly.
  2. Your ability to listen.

Talking skills

Speak for yourself when you talk to your partner. Some people do this by saying “I” to begin some of their sentences, for example:

“I like the way you look today.”

“I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

“I feel glad when I see that you are happy.”

“I would like some time to think about this before I say anymore.”

“I hear what you are saying, but I think differently to you about this.”

“I feel funny but I don’t know how to explain it – maybe I’m sad/hurt/afraid.”

When you speak for yourself like this you are letting your partner know what you are thinking and this will help your partner to understand and listen to you.

Listening skills

Listening effectively is one of the most important relationship skills you can have. Concentrate when your partner is talking to you. This means that you put everything else aside, whether that be listening to music, watching TV, reading the paper or picking your nose!

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Really hear what they’re saying. Then, reflect back to your partner what he or she just said to you, to check that you’ve understood them right. This can go miles in terms of your partner feeling really heard.

“So what I’m hearing from you is that when I don’t call to let you know I’ll be home late, it makes you feel insecure and worried. Have I got that right?”

After your partner confirms or elaborates, then it’s your turn to talk!

2 thoughts on “Relationship skills”

  1. I am 59 and have a daughter nearly 25. my husband passed away 3 years ago and I have just met a man with whom I have been spending some time; 3 months to date. at this point my daughter does not want to meet him – she is not sure why. she wants me to be happy she says and I know this to be true. how do I go about this meeting?

    1. Nothing is more lovely than falling in love! It is even more special when love comes to you after a loss like the one you’ve experienced.

      I’m hearing that your adult daughter wants nothing but happiness for you, but that she is not ready to meet your new partner yet. Even she isn’t exactly sure why. It sounds a bit confusing, and potentially painful, for the both of you.

      You didn’t specify, so I’m going to assume that your husband was the father of your daughter. Please get back to me and correct me if I’m wrong.

      It’s possible that you and your daughter are at different stages in terms of your healing process. A connection with a new person would be helping to diminish your own loss, pain and loneliness in a really meaningful way… but your daughter may still be adjusting to the loss of her father in her own time. Your new relationship may even be rekindling her own sadness and grief, as she now has to acknowledge that someone is in the space once occupied by her father.

      It is really common for children (even adult children) to have mixed feelings about their surviving parent dating. Yes, they absolutely want their parent to be happy. However they may experience a sense of disloyalty to the deceased parent, particularly at the thought of meeting the new partner.

      I think you really need to be sensitive to your daughter’s feelings. Try to keep in mind that grieving the loss of a father is an entirely different matter to grieving a husband. I would advise giving your daughter as much time as she needs to get used to the idea of you dating again. Insisting she meet your new partner before she is ready may cause her to feel resentment towards both you and the new person. Remember that first impressions last, so if she and your partner start off on a bad note, that resentment may linger on forever.

      I know that may not be what you want to hear, especially given that Christmas isn’t too far away and you might want to have a joint celebration. The thing is (as I’m sure you know), holidays can be even more painful than usual, as they tend to trigger memories of lost family especially. You definitely will need to tread carefully there, and try to reach a compromise.

      Best of luck Anon. Please get in touch with us if you would like some more support or counselling around this issue.

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