3 Rules to Unite Hearts

Relationships aren't what they used to be. We want more connection, a partner in every sense. Most of us want a best friend who sees and hears us. Unfortunately, relationship skills haven't evolved much beyond the eye rolls and sighs of exasperation our parents used.

To cultivate a new kind of relationship, develop these new skills:

1. Practice The Platinum Rule. As a child, you probably learned The Golden Rule, which says: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That worked when you were told to share your toys, or now as an adult to merge in traffic or wait in line at the grocery store. But when you try this with your most intimate partners, giving them what you would like falls flat.

Why? It's nothing you did wrong, and they're not being unappreciative. It turns out, The Golden Rule doesn't work for relationships; instead, you need The Platinum Rule: "Do Unto Others As THEY Would Have You Do Unto Them."

Your partner is not your mirror image. They interpret and experience life differently. In situations where you want to be comforted your partner might need solitude. At times when your partner might want to talk, you might need quiet time. The key is to know your spouse by observing them and asking questions that will help you understand one another's differences. This will help you gain insight into your partner's wants and needs.

2. Turn Conflict Into Curiosity. Everyone gets tired, hungry, or irritable. Triggers are bound to be activated, and your dark shadowy sides will come out from time to time. When conflict arises don't run away but turn towards your partner and discover what's really going on.

Most conflict arises when you don't get a vital need met. You expect your partner to be a mind reader and know what you want. If they disappoint you, you view them as the cause of your hurt and get angry.

When you're introspective, you can discover your own unmet need. You can use honest communication to speak about your needs more clearly from an empowered and loving place. First, you need to let them in. Be vulnerable enough to ask for what you need so your partner has a better chance of meeting your desires and expectations.

3. Master The Art Of Arguing. You don't have to stop arguing you just have to do it better. Research shows that even happily married couples argue. The difference between those that are deeply satisfied in their relationships and those that are ailing or failing is how they deal with conflict. If your argument goes unresolved, it will repeatedly be brought back up in various guises. Hurt lingers, resentment festers.

A happy couple argues productively. They find a resolution, and when things get too hot, they ask for timeouts to decompress. They come back to the topic when they're ready to see each other lovingly again and see the issue more clearly.

Carol Baxter is Certified Life and Relationship Coach and Spiritual Counselor. For more information, call 772-359-8924 or visit TheInspiredLivingCenter.com.

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