Dr. Nisha Khanna

Celebrity Psychologist, TEDx Speaker, Certified EQ Coach & Couple Facilitator

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Ten Rules of Successful Relationship/Marriage

     10 secrets

  1. Listen To Your Partner

All communication requires two basic necessities-a speaking voice and listening ear. Relationships are superficial if we do not listen carefully. Most of us practice selective listening, switching off and on as it suits us. Listening is an art that we all can learn.

It involves both hearing and paying attention. It is a window into your spouse’s world. It is an opportunity for you to realize that your spouse’s concerns are important to you.

You should not only listen to your spouse carefully but should also hear the full story before reacting.Your vocabulary should be full of positive words for yourself as well as for your partner.While listening, you should keep continuous eye contact to encourage better communication.You should not try to interrupt your partner midway. Verbal or nonverbal acknowledgment also assures that you have listened carefully. If possible you should summarize or restate whatever you have heard to ensure that you have not misunderstood whatever partner communicated.

  1. Appreciate Your Partner

All of us yearn to receive compliments which assure that we are loved and appreciated.Nowadays, couple peruses careers and live hectic professional lives, So it’s very important for them to take a time-out to talk, share and express feelings to each other.They should learn to share and appreciate each other’s taste.

Insults and caustic comments will never change anyone for the better; they will only aggravate the situation. Neither, you should criticize your partner nor you should compare your partner with another person. You can express your appreciation in style through a little sympathy, understanding, kindness and a flair for right words. There are so many ways to persuade and influence your partner in a positive sense.

Your compliments not only make your partner happy but also build up the self-esteem of your partner. If your spouse has a special talent or gift, you should encourage your partner to pursue his or her interests. You should appreciate your partner’s skills and share what is important to him or her. This way, you meaningfully participate in your partner’s interest. This sense of understanding and appreciation should grow with time to nourish and strengthen the bond between them.

  1. Understand Your Partner

Understanding human nature is indeed a complex and challenging art. Each human being is unique- a profound and mysterious being. Understanding is most precious quality a person possesses. It requires kindness, empathy, tolerance, patience and a healthy respect for other’s interest. The best way to understand is to be understanding i.e. to observe something from the bottom to top. Unfortunately, we are losing the ability to understand others. We rush into snap judgments. We develop strong opinions on everything and everyone even when we really don’t know about them.

To make the relationship stronger, you should learn to be emphatic. Empathy means nothing but understanding other person’s point of view. It is an excellent technique for strengthening relationships.It should be based on mutual respect. To be empathetic, you have to step out of your rigid, inflexible perspectives and see the world from another person’s viewpoint.

Tolerance is another virtue to make the relationship successful. Tolerance is nothing but a sincere effort to understand, appreciate and respect your partner’s beliefs and habits. This doesn’t mean you simply accept the other’s point of view. It only means you make an effort to understand it.As you make the effort to understand your partner; you grow in the understanding of yourself and events of life. This way you acquire wisdom and patience and learn to avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Forgive Your Partner

No human being is perfect on this earth. Therefore no relationship is perfect either. Misunderstandings accidents and quarrels are inevitably occurring in any relationship. Some of us forgive easily but cannot forget. Forgiveness is the characteristic trait of selfless and unconditional love. It should not be based on logic, methodology, justice and must be spontaneous. It is simple and straightforward; you accept your partner’s shortcomings still continue to love.

You need to erase the bitter memories of past to create a happy future. You require an honest apology, a generous acknowledgment, and loving forgiveness to wipe out the bitterness and anger. It’s not only extended to your spouse but it requires a healing process inside you so that you do not feel any bitterness or resentment about what happens. It’s always a good thing to communicate your expectations and disappointments. Speaking out is far better than brooding on such matters. You should confess your dissatisfaction, and look at each other’s failings or shortcomings as opportunities for strengthening the bond.

  1. Don’t Expect Perfectionism

No man and woman are ever perfect. Frailties and imperfections abound in each of us. We succumb to anger, falsehood, and prejudice and hate so easily and so often. An important part of the relationship is to understand and make allowances for the failings of your partner.

Expect your spouse for what he or she is, not for what he or she would be, could be or should be. It’s good for you to go with a clear-eyed realization that life has its limitations and relationship has their store of problems. You suffer from painful disillusion when you find the reality of life is not matching with your fantasy. You face disappointment and frustration and feel cheated when you expect too much from your relationship in the first place. When you adopt a realistic and compassionate approach to your partner and life, you grow in understanding and maturity and your relationship become rewarding.

  1. Avoid The Serious Fight

Every relationship has its share of misunderstandings and differences but the wise person learns from it. Constant quarreling can damage any relationship but if the disagreement is constructive and handled in the right way it can actually strengthen the relationship. There is no need for a couple to conform to each other, think alike or have similar perspectives. Rather these differences must be cherished and accepted as opportunities to learn more and more about your partner and in the process reach a better understanding of yourself.

You should be sensitive to the moods of your partner. This will help you to understand, when to be gentle and when to be tough. If your partner is in a mood to quarrel, you should be patient. Both should never lose the temper at the same time. When you disagree or agree to differ as the euphemism goes, you are expressing your individuality and independence.

When a quarrel arises, both just speak in anger and respond with more anger. If you wish the bad mood to end quickly then both of you must learn to control yourself. When you exercise self-control, you are cutting off fuel to the fire, which is sure to die quickly. In emotionally charged crises, you should not reply back or counter punch.

So, every effort you make to resolve the conflict or disagreement works ultimately to make the relationship stronger and more secure.

  1. Develop a Sense of Humor

The world seems to have grown very serious nowadays. We tend to look at life solemnly we have begun to equate maturity with seriousness.  We believe that wisdom cannot be accompanied by laughter. True life is serious business and requires our deliberate consideration and thoughtful purpose but a little fun and laughter now and does plenty of good for everyone. Humor is an all-round tonic. It promotes your physical mental and emotional wellbeing.Love also grows strong and healthy when it is nourished a healthy sense of humor.

The happiness thrives on fun laughter and play and these all are therapeutic. Laughter diffuses stress and tension. It promotes relationships and improves communications. It forms the bonding between you and your partner. Couple must learn to laugh and make each other laugh and should not get trapped in daily chores, rituals, and work. A little can change the day. When things get you down, do not explode in anger and stress instead find a reason to laugh and you will see that anger and stress simply melt away.

  1. Learn to Resolve Conflicts

Every relationship contains conflicts and disagreements. A conflict exists in a relationship when the action of your partners prevents or interfere your action. Some people grew up in families where there are constant fights and quarrels. Underneath these families really loved each other but the problem is that they only knew how to express anger and not to express love. So they should learn how to express love constructively where other people grew up in families thinking that anger was meant to be suppressed as it had never been expressed in their families so they should learn to express anger in a constructive way. They should be quick to soothe and heal the wounds and rebuild their sense of understanding and commitment to keeping the communication open.

It’s a general feeling in our society that conflicts are bad or should be avoided but the reality is conflicted are negative and positive in nature too. If you avoid conflicts and not resolve them then sooner or later serious difficulties arise. If in a relationship your disagreement, differences, and expectations are not expressed openly then you or your partner may start behaving in a negative way and the situation becomes tense day by day unless the opportunity is given to resolve it openly. In a positive sense, conflicts encourage change. There are the times when old habit patterns and attitude need to modify. It makes you aware of the problem within a relationship that needs to be resolved. Conflict helps in decision making too. It helps us to understand whether we are liked as an individual, what makes us angry, what scares us and what is valuable to us.

The couple may have different ways of resolving the conflict. The couple can resolve conflicts in following ways–FIGHT, FLIGHT, and FREEZE. You have your own style and strategy which you usually apply in conflict situations. While using these, you should keep in mind how important your partner is and how important your goals, expectations, and needs are. You should not hesitate to discuss your heart out without fear.

  1. Keep Your Love Fresh

After relationship couple takes each other for granted. It’s good to develop a healthy sense of dependence on each other. You must learn to be flexible. Each partner should have a will to change and give in just a little for the sake of the relationship. The couple should spare more time to be in each other’s company. The couple should loosen their schedules and deadlines so that their relationship doesn’t suffer. The couple should work to keep their love fresh.

As per the marriage counselors, a person should take the trouble to study your partner. Understand your partner’s likes and dislikes. Appreciate your partner’s strengths and weaknesses. You should be sensitive to your partner’s moods and feelings. You must know what pleases and what upsets your partner. You must know when to encourage and when to discourage your partner. In other words, do not take your partner granted.

  1. Spend Time Together

In the modern world due to our hectic schedules, nobody has a quantity of time. Giving your time to someone means you really care about that person. When you are spending your time with your partner, it means you are investing an important part of your life which cannot be taken back. That time should be distraction free where both of you can engage in meaningful talk and leisure activities. This can foster a great sense of togetherness so both of you should spend some quality time together every day.

By spending time together, you indicate the importance of your partner in your life which further restores peace, balance, and harmony in your relationship. Make sure whatever time you spend with your partner that should be relaxing and help you to unwind. You should avoid talking about daily chores, finances, and any contentious issues. Other people should not be the part of your discussions and your focus should be on each other. You can either go for a vacation or join some hobby classes together. The time that you spend with your partner will help you to know and understand your partner on the deeper level.

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Path of Relationship/Marriage

relationship-goals-7720122Life is a school and experience is our greatest teacher. In our lifetime, we enter into various relationships and each one teaches us vital truths for our own spiritual evolution. Relationship/Marriage teaches us mutual respect, mutual love, understanding, tolerance, and sense of responsibility. As per our scriptures, men and women are undoubtedly different physically, emotionally and temperamentally and both are incomplete without each other. Each needs the other and each has to learn much from other. Men have strength, determination, energy, vigor, and guts where women have great sensitivity, spiritual aspirations, and the spirit of sympathy and sacrifice. Men rely on their intellect mostly and women have intuition. Rudyard Kipling said, “A Woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”

Relationship/Marriage is the commitment for the lifetime. It is a sacred union, permanent lifelong relationship and is indissoluble. Anybody can laugh together, but a loving couple can cry together. In relationship or marriage, being the right person is far more important than finding the right person. A person must study the temperament of the individual and see how far your temperament will be in harmony with each other. When you are emotionally involved then it’s very difficult to judge the character of the person you love. So, a person should not to be misled by appearances and misjudge the character of the person you are going to marry.

A “love affair” based on mutual passion or physical attraction only promotes selfish pleasures but relationship/marriage is more than a love affair. When the pleasure wears thin, cracks begin to appear and the couple begins to fall apart. These days couples can be classified as a relationship (live in)/ marriage strangers. They share the same house, same room, and same car and yet may actually drift away from each other with a passage of time.

There is no such thing called trouble-free relationship/marriage.  Life brings its share of ups and downs, crises, problems and challenges to each one of us. The successful relationship/ marriage not only survive but flourishes through love and commitment. Perfection in relationship/marriage is created through conscious and deliberate effort. It also requires understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Both should make few compromises, sacrifices to nourish the marriage. Both should remain loyal, truthful to each other. Emotional incompatibilities are only misunderstandings and mistakes which can easily be set right if the couple together has the will to do so. So, called “Incompatibilities” & “misunderstandings” have to be resolved through constant effort, understanding and reconciliation by a constant process of loving, forgiving, caring n sharing.

Human relationships flounder when mutual respect is lacking. Relationship/ Marriage fail when companionship and understanding are absent in the partner, so we should give one another the freedom to be express ourselves and assert our unique identity. When there is a complete understanding, respect and affection, all relationships/marriages will become love relationships/marriages and in the true sense of the word.

In happy relationship/marriage, a couple must bring out the best in each other to make each other as happy as possible. The couple should, therefore help each other grow, evolve and unfold their highest potential. Man and Woman are equal partners and a couple should learn to respect one another and recognize the other’s right. A person must understand the difference between humility and humiliation, between loving submission and abject surrender. A person should make few sacrifices and compromises if necessary to nourish the relationship/marriage.

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Complementary and Symmetrical Couples

ch6-interpersonal-communication-power-point-4-638Marriage Counselor or Relationship Expert identify two types of couples that succor in understanding some of the dynamics of relationship depending on their behavior, choices or personality between them. The two types of couples are; the complementary and the symmetrical couples. Both types of couples are in a relationship due to the attraction factor which may gradually lead them into falling in love. Attraction can be physical/sexual, intellectual, spiritual, entrepreneurial and friendship. Nothing in this world comes in its pure form. These two types of couples may exist in many combinations of symmetrical/complementary varying from the midpoints to the end poles.

Complimentary Couples

Complimentary Couples are couples who are opposite in personality and have different approaches to life. One may be right oriented and the other left-oriented on the level of the brain functioning. In simple words, the couple thinks it to be a perfect match as the trait of both may add advantage to one’s weaknesses. Individually they might want different things or have different habits. One may be a fitness freak and the other a lazy one. They may also have the different set of priorities in their life. Couples with such collateral or parallel needs or goals in life end up with two reflections.

  • Benefits

As a team, the couple can handle a variety of problems because of their different ways of looking at the problem. They may help each other by teaching the different ways to tackle challenges. This would, in turn, enhance their personal self-growth. Due to their different ideologies, the partners can discuss and discover new things about each other. Hence verbal communication is the primary modality for them. These differences may also end up being limitations for these couples.

  • Limitations

In complementary couples, the difference of opinions may end up being a bane. If a decision taken by one of them turns out to be a wrong one, the other partner would blame and quarrel with the other. Instead of understanding and learning about each other’s perceptions and behavior they would end up blaming and criticizing each other. They do indulge in sexual relationships but it depends upon the rhythmic or pattern coincidence between the partners that depend on non-verbal behavior. At times when the pattern is limited, it might be satisfactory for both of them which may remain unspoken for a while. They may also come to a stagnant point in their marriage where there is nothing more to learn about each other and so there is nothing left between the two to interact for hence lowering their overall communication.

Symmetrical Couples

Couples who have the similar kind of understanding and approaches to life fall in this category. They perceive the world in the same manner where they have similar traits, hobbies, characteristics, background, experiences and other factors. They basically form mirror images of each other. There is no much difference between their decision making and thoughts. They have a high internal force as they see the same side of the coin when compared to other couples. With such an understanding come its bright and dull sides.

  • Benefits

The coupling has a balance in the relationship as the mindset of both the partners is similar. They may understand and feel what the partner may be going through in case of any hurdle in life and empathize better. They share a similar wavelength with each other and know better what the other partner’s situation might be or how he/she would react. They tend to be involved in non-verbal communication. Their sexual relationship is quite frequent and quite satisfactory depending on their situation of rhythm and pattern.

  • Limitations

Due to them sharing similar thoughts, their conversations get limited. Partners with the same behavior pattern may create problems in a relationship as they would behave in the same manner. Like if both do not like resolving conflicts then those problems end up being unresolved hence preventing them to build a healthy relation ahead. They may go through a time that they neither want to stay together or apart.  This would just turn to be toxic for both of them.

All partners go through rough patches in their relationship. Partners may help each other towards development to self-growth and maturity. But after a certain time, the person’s choices or point of views may tend to differ causing them look for a relationship outside of their union.  These differences may be resolved with the help of a neutral individual i.e. a professional relationship counselor/marriage counselor. The relationship counselor/marriage counselor would help the couple or the individual to understand better. Relationship counselor/marriage counselor helps to deal with conflicts in a better way which is likely to be more constructive for both individuals.

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Marriage Counselling : Marriage & Divorce

072788950fa3c8fe7ecd9ffda45d4fe6The inter-related threads of Indian society are going through several changes.  These changes are helping to shape out and redefine individual identities and role of families in the marriage. Not only this but also the values for the younger Indians and their consideration for interdependency, honor, self-effacement and social structure are leading ways to separation. With the coming generation, the new concept of marriage and divorce is emerging.

  • In India, marriage is still a socio-legal relation. But now time has come that partners have their own rules for the marriage arrangement. Individuals and couple are coming up with pre-nuptial agreements before the marriages.
  • Marriage now days are to complete the emotional need between the partners and not just for procreation.
  • Couples have started to build proper communication styles in a marriage. Now the time has come that if the couples find it difficult to get solutions for their problems then they try to get help from a professional i.e. a relationship counsellor or marriage counsellor.
  • Marriage is a life time commitment so one should have a choice with whom they would like to spend their entire life with instead of being pressured into a life time commitment and responsibility like marriage.
  • Generally people are mistaken by thinking marriage to be the ultimate only goal for women in India. This regressive thinking stagnates the growth both mentally and emotionally of the woman hence building up remorse, dislike and other emotional imbalances.
  • Couples have a better understanding that now if they feel it is not working they opt for divorce and do not drag their marriage for the sake of it as they used to do this before.
  • The reasons for such a change may be due to the decrease number of joint family as there is no familial pressure involved.
  • The whole concept of divorce is changing. People are now approaching it more than before and are aware of their rights and duties.
  • As the women are working towards independency, they marry late and so lesser tolerance for changes in life.
  • The divorce rate is peaking high which may be due to lack of commitment among the individuals, people are not comfortable with the family interference in their marital life, lack of communication between the two or may be due to the rise in women empowerment. Now the women do not have to stay in bad marriage for financial support and may ask for separation.
  • A study in India in 2015 has found out that 13 out of 1000 marriages end in divorce. This was not the case 10 years back which was 1 in 1000 cases. But, US studies count averagely to 500 out 1000 cases end in divorce.
  • Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow are the cities in India which have the highest divorce rate. A research finds drastic increase in the number of divorces in India over certain years. There are 11,667 cases filed for divorce in Mumbai in 2014 (till November 30) from 5,245 cases in 2010. Whereas in Kolkata, the number has reached to 8,347 divorce cases in 2014 (till November 30) from 2,388, a total of 350% increment.
  • During the troubled times, pre/post marriage counselling process is quite helpful. Marriage Counselling work wonders, when couple together sincerely work to repair the relationship/marriage.
  • Sometimes, people visit a Marriage Counsellor and just want their partner to be fixed. In such situations, individual counselling is quite helpful. As a Marriage Counsellor, I try to get them to defocus on their partner and more on their own behavior. When one person starts changing during individual counselling, it can be a dramatic impact on the marriage. Visiting a counsellor by one person for therapy can be a role model and engage or change in different behaviors to show that something positive is coming out of the therapy.
  • Marriage Counselling may not work or prove worse when one partner is reluctant for therapy and won’t make a single effort to change. Some people do not see therapy as an option. One partner may have already given up on the relationship/marriage, and saving the relationship/marriage at that point can be difficult.
  • In few cases, Divorce Counseling works by convincing a couple that they are not in a healthy marriage and by giving the couple the encouragement they need to end their marriage. Therefore, Divorce Counselling helps to manage a cooperative and non-destructive divorce.

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Infidelity : Types, Causes and How to overcome?

InfidelityInfidelity is where an individual has a romantic, emotional or sexual relationship with someone without the consent of their partner. This unfaithfulness from their partner causes the individual a cloud of various kinds of feelings like devastation, guilt, unfaithfulness, shattered, betrayal, lonely, jealousy, confusion and anger. This emotional trauma requires time to heal. Infidelity may be caused by lack of support in a relationship or may be the result of a habit. This is a common problem faced by couples now-a-days.

Types of Infidelities

Affairs can take shape into different forms depending upon the feeling, intimacy, companionship and sex lacking in the relationship. It may be due to the circumstance or by spending more time with someone other than the partner.

An individual can have multiple affairs where in a cycle of similar kind of affairs which has been formed as habits over the period of years. They can be of any type stated below or in combination of the types. They are attracted by the fondness of forming new relationship or getting a chance to rekindle what is lacking in their life. Following such a habit may affect a person’s self esteem in a long run.

  • Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs involve two individuals having emotional intimacy between them. It may have been built due to spending excessive amounts of time with someone other than the partner create a connection between them. The individual may have been sexually involved along with the emotional connections. Emotional ties are the strongest ones as they share things which are not been shared with their partner. Hence it takes longer time to get over the affair.

  • Internet/Cyber Affairs

Social networking and media has become an integral part in people’s lives. Through this platform people form connections or relations with other individuals apart from their partners. Although the affair is not of physical intimacy but spending excessive time over the chats or video calls do constitute as cheating. It is one way to form such a connection which amplifies the connection with time. Here emotional or sexual attachments are at play.

  • Sexual Affairs

People here may be driven by the lack of sexual activity with their partners. Individuals here do feel shame or worthlessness due to their unfaithfulness. But some may also not harbor feelings of guilt or withdrawal due to their personalities and past experiences. Some individuals may also engage in pornography addiction which may bother their partner and in turn strain their relationship.

  • Romantic Affairs

Some people seek constant spark in their live, so they resort to experimenting or finding new love and romance in their lives. When they are unable to find the zing factor, they tend to search for it outside their relationship. This may be due to boredom or monotony of their current romantic relation with the partner. Seeking for new spark may only seem arousing and exciting initially for them until they try and find love again.

Causes

  • In a relationship, sometimes the affection between the couple may decrease due to the responsibilities over their shoulders.
  • Communication gap between the partners may cause the person to find understanding from someone else.
  • Physical or mental health issues in one of the partners may make the other partner feel frustrated due to his/her unsatisfied needs.
  • Couples who do not address their relationship issues which further might turn the relation cold which may make the person seek happiness outside the relationship.
  • Addiction is one of the major issues which make a partner to find a companion outside the relationship who may fulfill his/her needs.
  • Personal dissatisfaction or low self-esteem of the person.
  • Escaping through the responsibilities.
  • Dominance and anger issues of the partner.
  • Usage of pornography by the partner.
  • Unsatisfied sexual needs.
  • The partner may be materialistic who might find interest in other person who would fulfill her/his demands.
  • Not spending proper time with the partner.
  • Emotional distance between the couple.

Overcome

  • Consult a professional marriage counselor for resolving the disputes.
  • With the help of a marriage counselor a person first needs to acknowledge about his/her feelings that will help them to resolve the confusion.
  • Marriage counseling helps the couples to clarify at the right time which may help them to make amends in the marriage for the betterment.
  • Through the help of a marriage counselor a couple learns how to spend qualitative time with each other.
  • Marriage Counseling helps to develop communication skills which help to build a better communication pathway between them.
  • One should never lose hope as it is says, when the world says, “Give up”, hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

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Role of a Family Counsellor

FC

Family Counselling or Family Therapy is a treatment designed to deal with specific issues affecting the dynamic and functioning of a family. It is used to help a family through difficult phases, major changes, emotional, behavioral or mental health problems amongst family members.

A family counsellor is a ‘neutral’ or an objective individual whose main role present in a family counseling session is to help undo the troubled relations of a family. They help members of the family to communicate effectively, to understand the other family member’s perspective and to bridge the gap or differences between the family members.

Objectives of a Family Counsellor

  • Having a healthy discussion on issues troubling the family.
  • Diagnosing the mental and/or emotional issues.
  • Finding effective treatment strategies to alleviate the client/family’s problem.

How can a Family Counsellor help you?

  • If a member of the family suffers from any severe mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder, etc. the family counselor can help the other family members understand and psycho-educate and teach them ways to adjust to the psychological changes that their family member may be undergoing.
  • Family counsellor can help with issues arising from generation-gap between child parent, child-grandparent, child-step parent, child-guardian, etc.
  • Family counsellor can help with issues arising from divorce families, blended families, nuclear families, joint families, etc.
  • Family counsellor can also help with unmarried parents, live in relationships, LGBT couples raising family, cross- culture or religious background families, etc.
  • Family counsellor can also help with issues stemming outside the family like societal attitudes.
  • Family counsellor can also deal with issues when a member is being scapegoated, is struggling with feelings of outcast or is receiving very little support from other members of the family, etc.
  • Family counsellor helps with developing empathy and understanding towards each members of the family.
  • Family counsellor helps with addressing each and every issue contributing to the problem.
  • Family counsellor helps at solving the effects of any pattern of problems.

More importantly, Family Counselling / Family Therapy aids in improving the family relationships by:

  • Getting the family closer post, a crisis.
  • Developing honesty between every family member.
  • Developing trust between every family member.
  • Developing a supportive and empathetic family environment.
  • Reducing sources of tension and stress within the family.
  • Helping family members get over painful past.
  • Encouraging family members to forgive each other.
  • Developing conflict resolution for issues in the family.

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What is your Conflict Resolution Style?

CR

A layman thinks, conflicts are bad and should be avoided. People believe that a good relationship is one where there are no conflicts. But the truth is (I believe too as a marriage counsellor) that where there are vessels, they are bound to collide with each other. In each marriage/relationship elements of conflicts or disagreement appears from time to time. A conflict occurs when an action by one-person blocks, intercepts or barricade with the actions of another person. Conflicts sometimes may be the cause of divorce, separation, stress, psychological problem and violence etc. Research says failure to handle conflicts in constructive ways leads towards destruction of marriage/relationship.

You all have experienced conflicts of different altitude and relevance. Even you have observed that sometimes you end up being stuck in your problem where as someone else with the same problem is able to resolve the similar issues much better than you. The one thing that differentiates you from other is the level of conflict resolution techniques or problem-solving skills. The outlook people pertain towards problems is much different than yours. You all have our own style or strategy which you usually apply in conflicted situations. People mostly apply different approaches like Flight, Fight and Freeze on different occasions to resolve conflicts. The following 5 propositions will help you gain a perspective and an understanding of your Conflict Resolution Style or Strategy. They include:

  • The Owl Strategy or Style (Cooperating/Collaborating)
  • The Shark Strategy or Style (Forcing/Competing/Attacking)
  • The Fox Strategy or Style (Compromising/Manipulative)
  • The Teddy Bear Strategy or Style (Accommodating/Smoothing over)
  • The Turtle Strategy or Style (Avoiding/Withdrawal)

The Owl Strategy or Style (Cooperating/Collaborating)

An individual who applies this approach is someone who views a problem with an idea to solve it. They always try and search for a way to resolve the conflict and are ready to make adjustments in order to achieve it. They would rather explain their point of view when it comes to an issue but also at the same time hold the ability to understand and perceive other person’s point of view. They are willing to learn from each other and hold the ability to grow as a person.

The Owl is a symbol of wisdom and alertness so faces the situation well and develops mutuality and adjustment. You prefer a resolution where everybody’s needs are assimilated or paid attention to. You seek for an outcome where everyone is in a Win-Win situation i.e. “I win- You win.” You are assertive and open. You are not afraid to stand up for yourself as well as other’s need in a respectful way.

If u have this style, it indicates that the marriage/relationship is highly important (intimacy) and goals, needs along with expectations are also highly important.

The Shark Strategy or Style (Forcing/Competing/Attacking)

An individual who applies this approach is someone who perceives a conflict as a competition. They can only look at a situation in two ways; if one wins the other loses. They have a more forcing style of dealing with a conflict, where they would aim only for their needs to be met. They are competitive in nature. This style goes more for an ‘I Win – You Lose’ choice.

The Shark is aggressive by nature so tries to win by attacking and overpowering another person. The communication style here comes across as intimidating and aggressive. You end up getting what you need but end up having damaged or destroyed relationships. The other person whose needs are not met will be upset, even if they do not share this with you. They likely will hold a grudge against you, and this will fester. This approach can be counterproductive in nature.

If u have this style, it indicates that neither you are interested in marriage/relationship nor interested in knowing the goals, needs and expectations of another person.

The Fox Strategy or Style (Compromising/Manipulative)

An individual who applies this approach is someone who uses compromising style to deal with a conflict. They believe both parties should compromise. They believe in meeting halfway to ensure that the relationship remains unharmed. They are eager to deal with the conflict so they look ways by which they can solve the issue in order to satisfy all. This style goes more for an ‘I Win Some – You Win Some & I Lose Some’ choice.

As fox is of cunning nature so they know conflict cannot be solved unless there is a compromise and both parties come to an understanding on a decision. You are way too focused on finding a solution that your communication style ends up being fairly shallow. The conflict is only superficially resolved. It’s a way to defuse the present situation and if required you will change the way to gain your own interest. You manipulate others to achieve your goals and are not interested in straight forward relationships and intimacy.

If you have this style, it indicates the relationship is important (manipulative) and your goals, needs and expectations are also important along with others.

Teddy Bear Strategy or Style (Accommodating/Smoothing over)

An individual who applies this approach is someone has an accommodating style. When a conflict arises they view the conflict as something bad that needs to be addressed in a peaceful way as soon as possible. The conflict distresses them to a great extent hence they would do anything within their knowledge and power to resolve the problem. They would rather give in and not address their needs in order to resolve the conflict. Here they only end up catering to the needs of others. This style goes more for a ‘You Win – I Lose’ choice.

The Teddy Bear is a baby bear, lovable and would like everyone to love. You don’t wish to bother others. People think of you as people pleaser. You do not engage in painful and difficult conversations with others. The relationships in your life remain intact but only on the surface. On a long term, you end up resenting yourself and your self-esteem. You may feel like a door mat, wherein you think people only use you. This is because you are not able to tell others what is important for you. This style is harmful for your own wellbeing.

If you have this style, it indicates the marriage/ relationship is more important and you do not want to hurt people and is yourself scared of getting hurt. You give up your goals, feelings, expectations, opinions etc. and let others have what they want.

The Turtle Strategy or Style (Avoiding/Withdrawal)

An individual who applies this approach is someone who has an avoiding style when approaching a conflict. They hope to ignore the conflict in order to resolve it. They do not want to. They end up walking away, withdrawing or delaying. This style goes more for an ‘I Lose, You Lose’ choice. They do not express their needs nor discuss the needs of others.

The Turtle withdraws into its shell in a threatening situation, which is like a stone and no matter whatever happens outside, he does not come out. This resolution style ends up frustrating others. The relationships here are shallow and are on a verge of a break-down. You are aware that avoiding the conflict will not make the conflict magically disappear but at the same time you are unwilling to take an action. This approach is disadvantage for everyone involved.

If you have this style, it indicates the marriage/ relationship is not important for you. Neither you communicate with others, nor like others to approach you. For you, goals, feelings and expectations are not important. You don’t express your own needs and expectations and also don’t want to know the needs and expectations of other people.

As you read, all styles or strategies are applicable and you use according to your circumstances. You may notice that you see yourself in more than one of these styles. By identifying yours, you may be able to better or change aspects of yourself that are required. You have also to understand which is best style to strengthen marriage/relationship and growth to bring intimacy between two people to create a better environment.

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Communication Strategies Destroy Relationship

commuunication destroy relationshipCommunication is the basic foundation of any relationship on which all else is built. An individual must master handful of essential skills to enjoy close relationships. During my counselling sessions, mostly all un-married and married couples complain about lack of good communication. One partner is assertive or other may not. One is a good listener or other may not. Developing and maintaining good communication is a life long process.  It takes time, practice, patience and attention in detail to develop good communication skill. There are some do’s n don’ts to enhance your intimate relationship/marriage. Following strategies during communication, an individual should not employ if he/she is seeking to enhance the intimacy because these approaches destroy an intimate relationship:-

  • When the person avoid sharing feelings.
  • When the person assumes what the partner wants and thinks.
  • When the person talk about weather and daily events.
  • When the person give silent treatment.
  • When the person assume that issues will subside over time.
  • When the person blame the partner for any problem.
  • When the person avoid sharing positive feelings.
  • When the person brings up the past issues, during an argument.
  • When the person share all the negative feelings.
  • When the person avoid sharing positive feelings.
  • When the person avoid talking about the relationship.
  • When the person use criticism more and appreciate less.
  • When the person nags or interferes a lot.

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Interpersonal Relationships

pexels-photo-551657Starting a conversation helps to build interpersonal relationships which brings the people close to each other. This is the difficult step as the person has to leave their comfort zone and initiate a conversation which helps them to gain confidence and know about them better.

There are three types of behavioral pattern which we use in our interpersonal relationships.

  • Withdrawal Behavioral Pattern

When we hide ourselves and we do not express our feelings. In this pattern, we withdraw physically and mentally from others.

  • Aggressive Behavioral Pattern

Due to our own emotional insecurity, we go against people and hurt them with our nasty actions and abusive behavior. Because of this people stop coming close to us.

  • Assertive Behavioral Pattern

It is a positive and healthy approach in a relationship/ marriage where we gratify each other’s needs. It involves mutual respect, understanding and care. In the process of self-disclosure, trust is the base of interpersonal relationships. It builds up when we risk ourselves by disclosing our thoughts, feelings and reactions to each other. This helps to decrease the distance created in our interpersonal relationships.

So, when we discuss about distance, we maintain two levels of relationships. One is social relationships (public) and another is personal relationships (private).

Social Relationship:

  1. Conventional approach

In this approach, we recognize acquaintances immediately and exchange some obligatory conversations.

  1. Exploratory approach

In this approach, we move one step ahead to make our conversations meaningful. We discuss about politics, sports and our basic interests of day to day life.

Personal Relationship:

  1. Participative Approach

We take interest in knowing the person, personal thoughts, feelings, needs and more. In this approach, to develop a personal friendly relationship, we talk about ourselves and our personal matters which further motivates other person to open up and disclose more about self.

  1. Intimacy

As we discuss our sorrows, joys, likes, dislikes, hobbies, expectations and other views; we further move towards intimacy and closeness because of same wavelength. This way the bond of companionship develops between the two and we keep communicating good or bad experiences, agreements or disagreements and etc.

Further, through transparency of self-disclosure we are able to develop genuinely and authentically trustful relationship/ marriage.

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Self-Disclosure and Why We Don’t?

self disclosureSelf-Disclosure is a process of sharing one’s self to another person. In day to day basis one individual shares the information with the other. The information may be personal or superficial depending on the conversation. One has to share the same level of information with the other in self disclosure. It is important that in a conversation people are concerned about the present scenario of each other.

Self-disclosure is important in our intimate relationship or marriage which gradually develops deeper and deeper except rare cases. It helps us to build trust, understanding, care, commitment and growth in a relationship/ marriage. We are unable to build a good relationship or marriage if we are not open about ourselves and to our partners. If we hide our reactions and feelings, we will be like strangers in a relationship or marriage. Our openness motivates other partner to open up but a person who shares a good amount of information; reactions and feelings may scare the other person. So, we should slowly open up with careful assessment of other person’s reactions.

Why People Inhibit Themselves from Self-Disclosure?

When we feel stuck, “FEAR” is the most important factor in talking and sharing of ourselves. There are five types of fear which constitutes in our daily lives.

  • Fear of Knowing of Ourselves

We do not want to know ourselves because of fear of unknown and what lies within us. This may be due to the risk of a pleasurable or painful experience to know self.

  • Fear of Changing Ourselves

Changes are part of life but few accept it and rest find it difficult with a feeling of restlessness. Sometimes, past experiences or wounds are full of pus causing us pain and suffering which makes a person to behave in such a way that we avoid change.

  • Fear of Closeness with Others

We may doubt people that if we disclose any information then the other might misuse against us. This further leads to hampered relationship.

  • Fear of Rejection from Others

We have a fear of rejection that our weaknesses will be exposed which creates a doubt among people.

  • Fear of Guilt and Shame

Feeling of inadequacy, guilt and shame our most detrimental to our relationship which further leads towards loneliness.

Through the help of marriage counselling, couple learn to open up in a more constructive way to develop a healthy and meaningful relationship/ marriage. It helps to develop more qualitative and quantitative communication between a couple.