Are you having relationship problems? Well, you’re not alone. Many couples have relationship problems, including those who are single. The term ‘relationship,’ by definition means, “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Whether it’s your significant other, a family member, a friend, co-worker, or associate you have some relationship with them. With these different types of individuals, you may have different or similar problems. The question is, what kinds of relationship problems are you having?
The different type of relationship problems varies from person to person. With your significant other your problem may be that there is inadequate communication. With your family member, it may always be having to loan money. With your co-worker, it may be not sharing the same task equally. No matter what type of problem it is, they all have one thing in common, YOU. When problems arise, how do you react? What do you say? Are you childish or an adult when it boils down to making a solution? “The challenge with perception in human relations is that we may not always understand someone else’s perception and/or assume their perception is our own.”
Why are there relationship problems?
- There’s a numerous amount of reasons that cause problems in a relationship such as, money, infidelity, disagreements, misunderstandings, etc.
- I believe the number one cause is because of unfortunate/lack of communication skills. People now and days are short and quick with their responses, or don’t even respond at all. People don’t take the initiative anymore to tell others what is going on, no matter how big or small.
- Another reason I believe there are relationship problems is that people are selfish. Most people only care about their feelings and how they are affected. When in a relationship, both people’s emotions and thoughts need to be considered.
Overcoming the problem
When faced with any relationship problem, the first objective is to become aware of the problem. Most problems exist because people aren’t aware that they are or have created a problem. According to a Harvard Business Review chart, “High self-awareness leads to better team performance.” Once you are aware of the problem, address it. When addressing any problem, you don’t want to come off as aggressive or rude. If you are not sure what to say, you can ask a question such as, “I’ve noticed XYZ, do you believe this is true or what are your thoughts about XYZ?” This way you are engaging the other person, and not making everything about you. You are allowing the other person to share their perspective, while you keep an open mind. Below I have provided a list of how to effectively communicate with someone if there is or isn’t a problem.
- Take the time to figure out what you want to say.
- Be aware of the tone of voice you are using and the way you word your thoughts.
- Take your time with speaking so that nothing is said out of emotion and so that you don’t say anything that you didn’t mean. James 1:19 NIV says, “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
- There are no interruptions. As one person speaks, the other is actively listening. Actively listening is being able to listen to understand, not to respond.
- If you have comments or disagree; write it down, then bring it up when it is your turn to speak.
- Develop ways to prevent the problem from happening again. “What could I do better next time?”
- Understand that the purpose of the conversation is to understand each perspective, even if you disagree.
- After understanding each perspective, come up with a compromising reasonable solution.
Putting it into practice
There will always be problems among us, but we have control over how much of a problem it will be to us. By practicing the list I provided daily, you should notice a significant change in your relationship(s) and within yourself. Practicing good habits makes out a great lifestyle. So, let’s practice. I’ll give a scenario, and you answer how you would handle the situation.
- Kyle and Korissa are a couple. They both get off work at the same time. Kyle decided to leave a little early to surprise her with dinner from her favorite restaurant. Today Korissa chose to run a few errands and hang out before going home. Once Kyle arrived home, he cleaned up and began setting the table for dinner. After he was finished, he waited patiently for Korissa. When Korissa didn’t show at her usual time, Kyle called but never got through. He began to get frustrated because of the food getting cold, but also concerned about where she could be. Moments later Korissa walks in with a smile on her face, excited to tell Kyle about her day. Without hesitation, Kyle exploded. There was a lot of yelling back and forth that it eventually turned into them ignoring each other for the rest of the night. How should the couple handle this situation?
- Answer: First, yelling never gets anything across. Kyle has every right to be upset, but he should watch his tone of voice. Korissa should have communicated with Kyle what she would be doing after work. A text of, “Hey babe, I’ll be running errands after work. Will be home around 6:30 pm” could’ve made a big difference. Korissa should have also responded to Kyle’s missed call. To avoid this from happening again, they should communicate their change in schedule. For whatever reason why Korissa didn’t answer his phone call, when she did see it, she should have called back or sent a text. Korissa should apologize for her lack of communication and Kyle should apologize for raising his tone of voice (exploding).
If you applied those eight steps and tried to make amends with the person, and problems are still there it may not be you, but them. It’s not your job to make every relationship work. There will be some relationships that just aren’t meant to be, and that’s okay. The purpose is to recognize which part you contribute to your relationship problems. If the relationship is important to you, then figure out if the same issues are occurring in your other relationships, and then engage the person who you are having problems with to come up with a solution to eliminate the issues.