The 7 golden rules of healthy relationships

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Hey,

After the annual bestselling roses day we stay on love vibe. But today I’m presenting you love in a different perspective - the scientific one - I’m introducing you to the famous 7 skills for a healthy relationship according to Robert Epstein. 

You may wonder who Robert Epstein is and why would he teach you how to manage your relationship. Well here’s a few words about the creator of the relationship model. 

Robert Epstein is an American psychologist, professor, author and journalist. The highlights of his biography are the PhD from Harvard and the editor in chief position in Psychology Today (the widest website for psychology).

The American psychologist has come up with a model where he puts accent to the 7 skills that we should learn so that we can have a healthy relationship and today I’m sharing how I understand the skills and why I think he chose these ones. 

Communication. 

It’s no secret that the key to every relationship is the communication between people. That includes communication between parents, kids, friends, colleagues, partners. The secret, however, lays in the skill to listen, to share your thoughts and to know how to react. 

On the first look, these are things we do everyday all the time. But actually think if you actually listen, actually share and the way you react. The most common conflicts appear because of the lost connection between what the person says and what the other one understands.

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Resolving conflicts.

Speaking of conflicts - we can’t live without them (do you imagine how boring it would be if you’re always okay with what the other person says or does) but we have to learn how to resolve them.

It’s true that every person has his own conflict resolving style. It’s true that it’s not always effective. And it’s another truth that sometimes the reason for a conflict is displaced somehow naturally in the process of talking (well, it’s not exactly talking the right word). 

To resolve a conflict the people involved have to be willing to hear the other person, to be ready to apologize or forgive and most importantly: to stay in the present and on the topic (not to go back to “what you did 5 month or 10 years ago…” The thing about the 5 months or 10 years ago is something else - working on problems like this requires time and in most cases psychologist or therapist - not a fortune teller, friend to give advice and not to hide the problem away).

Knowing your partner.

The person next to you cannot be an open book. And that’s okay, but we have to always try to get to know the other person and not to stop to get to know him/her again and again even if you’ve been together for a long time. People change all the time. 

You have to know  how to have fun together, what makes the other one happy, what he/she likes and what not, what he/she wants and dreams about. When you speak to your other half on these topics, the other person feels meaningful that you actually care and feeling meaningful is one of the most valuable things! 

Life skills. 

On the wedding scenes in movies they say “in good times and bad” and this is really true even in relationships without marriage. Finance, food regime, workouts and even work are parts of reality that we have to be able to manage. Part of conflicts come from problems in these topics.

Yes, it’s true that problems based on these aspects of life come and go, but what’s important is the other person to be understanding and stimulating. Harsh reactions in moments like these could be explosive and to harm a lot so we have to learn to control ourselves.

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Self-management. 

One thing leads to another, from control to self-management. No one likes to feel weak in front of the other half (or anyone for that matter), but it’s a lot healthier to know your weaknesses and accept them instead of acting like Superman :) 

Sex and romance. 

There’s nothing more sacred than intimacy between partners but here I don’t talk about  physical intimacy but emotional. The two aspects of intimacy are the base of every healthy relationship and shouldn’t be ignored because they might lead to dysfunctions in relations and if you think about it you’ll find out that the lack of emotional intimacy could cause dysfunction in the physical intimacy. 

And from there begins a gap that grows bigger and bigger - starting from lack of communication or presence of unhealthy communication, going through total indifference or decay of the relationship itself - think about which is worse…

Stress managing. 

Ah, this stress, that we hear about all the time. Actually at least 60% from what you hear is complete nonsense. There’s nothing more natural than stress! Problems come from the fact that people often do not know how to process stress. Then it transforms into distress, that affects us negatively. Stress is nothing more than adaptation to change so a person has to know how to adapt. In case of a non-successful adaptation to changing environment, there might come a immature reaction towards your close ones, without them knowing what is going on.

The 7 golden skills for a healthy relationship are as much easy, as they are hard.

Sorry if my explanations were sounding a bit too negative, but I wanted to illustrate a picture of the typical problems that couples have. It’s not common to talk about them around Valentine’s Day, but you know - we should cherish and keep what we have. So try to perfect these 7 skills and don’t forget that sweet gestures are not only for holidays ;)

Till next time, 

Victoria

 Photos: private archive

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