Recommendations to Strengthen Your Relationship BondsJan 31, 2021 09:16AM ● By Julie Peterson
Conflict in a romantic relationship can cause gut wrenching discomfort and deepen distance between partners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Local relationship experts explain how conflict can be a catalyst to growing closer and strengthening relationship bonds.
Common Issues Between Partners
Distribution of labor, dynamics of power, budgeting, separate interests and more can cause conflict over time, according to Joan LoMonaco, Family Constellation Practitioner at Dharma Healing Arts in Fort Pierce. But conflict doesn’t have to be viewed negatively. “Conflict is natural. In fact, it's helpful in a relationship. When understood and handled well, it can become a source of deepening understanding and connection between partners,” says Carol Baxter, Relationship Coach at The Inspired Living Center in Port St. Lucie.
That connection might feel more difficult when one person seems to be going in a different direction than the other. “We are constantly changing and evolving and sometimes one may seem to be changing more than the other,” says Ann Marie Caccavano, Certified Hypnotherapist, at Lifestyle Goddess in Port St. Lucie. “It’s important to think about how you can have a successful relationship with this new version of the person…It can be exciting as you discover new ways of being together.”
Strengthen the Relationship
Better communication always helps. Learning to truly listen, instead of assuming what the other thinks can bring about realization that there may be an underlying need that is not being met or spoken about.
“Participate in active listening with reflection back what the other says,” advises LoMonaco. “They should be mindful and aware of the other's needs. They should have mutual respect and work toward understanding each other without fear of humiliation for sharing feelings.”
Hearing your partner is key but knowing what you want is also crucial. “Get clarity and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Ask yourself what specifically do I need from my partner right now? How would l like him/her to respond to me in this moment? Then share your need clearly and kindly and give your partner time to absorb your point of view,” says Baxter.
Hearing your partner is key but knowing what you want is also crucial.
Bring back date night! Busy couples often put cultivating their relationship by the wayside as careers, raising a family and adult life get in the way. “Making a commitment to one other, whether once a week or once a month, to have a ‘date night’ to set aside time focusing solely on your relationship is key to successful partnering,” says Caccavano. She also recommends playing games that have get-to-know-you questions, to deepen knowledge about each other. Things like “How did I love you well this past week? Or What dream/thoughts/visions are at the forefront of your mind this coming week?” can often reveal surprising answers that will deepen understanding.
Bringing back the old-fashioned love letter is another recommendation from Caccavano. Sometimes hopes, dreams and passion are better expressed in writing instead of spoken.
One way to show up more authentically in a relationship is to ask yourself if you might be making it difficult for your partner to give you what you really want. “This points to an increase in self-knowledge and accountability, which is an important step away from the finger-pointing that characterizes most conflict,” says Baxter. “It’s also a step into self-reflection and a good way to know what to focus on for self-development, growth and relationship readiness.”
“It is beneficial if each partner is engaged in their own personal process of growth or awakening to the core of their being which involves being able to see their flaws and work on them,” says LoMonaco.
Caccavano agrees: “Knowing who you are and what you want is key to an authentic relationship. How can anyone give you what you want or encourage and support you if you have no idea what that is?”