Truth #1 Each relationship contains a reservoir of hope. We find that most partners retain their wish for the relationship to improve even when it appears improbable. Truth #2 One "zinger" will erase 20 acts of kindness. Research has shown that it takes only one put-down to undo hours of kindness you give to your partner. Intimate partners must learn to manage their anger and to control the exchange of negative behaviour. Truth #3 Little changes in you can lead to huge changes in the relationship. Add acts of thoughtful kindness to your relationship - and subtract acts of thoughtless nastiness. Complement your partner on how he or she looks, touch your partner's back when you walk by - and subtract from your relationship acts of thoughtless nastiness - ignoring your partner when you are angry; calling your partner names. Truth #4 It's not the differences between partners that cause problems but the way in which differences are handled when they arise. Rather than focusing upon areas of agreement and disagreement, partners in happy relationships develop good listening skills that involve understanding and acceptance of the other's differences. Having a good listener is having a good friend. In a happy relationship, a partner can count on his or her mate to be a good friend - not a judge or counsellor. Truth #5 Men and women fight using different weapons, but suffer similar wounds. For various reasons, men often have a harder time handling conflict, while women have a harder time tolerating emotional distance. When couples learn to monitor and contain their responses, they learn to work together to achieve the closeness they both want. Truth #6 Partners enter into relationships with no agreed-upon rules or skills for handling the strong negative feelings that are an inevitable part of all relationships. Without rules, in the face of conflict, partners often resort to forms of guerrilla warfare with random sniping that can seriously wound their mates. Partners need to learn relationship skills and become good at them. Instead of letting conflict take control of them, partners need to take control of conflict.
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