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Happy Valentine’s Day

Commit to Better Communications for a Relationship That Thrives

Couples split up for numerous different reasons, ranging from lack of common interests, significant life changes, money issues, cheating and sex. But one of the top reasons couples don't survive is due to communication problems.

It's essential that couples understand the role communication styles play in marital discord. Throughout their relationship, many couples alienate each other as they try to communicate their needs. As misunderstandings escalate, even minor issues can turn into major ordeals. The reason for these serious disputes usually has more to do with the way couples communicate than what they are trying to say.

Fortunately, some factors can be changed if couples put forth the effort, explain Stanley and Howard Markman, coauthors of Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love. These include improving unrealistic beliefs about marriage, low commitment levels and difficulties working as a team. Negative communication styles, poor communication skills for handling disagreements, and attitude differences regarding important issues can also be overcome.

Changing old patterns isn’t easy and requires work. But learning to communicate with your partner effectively can be achieved.

Many therapists teach clients communication techniques that can make arguing, yelling and avoidance a thing of the past. Not only do couples learn to communicate more effectively, but they may also develop deeper bonds and intimacy. This can have a lasting effect on a relationship.

One technique sometimes referred to as Intentional Dialogue, is used in Imago Relationship Therapy. Through this technique, couples learn how to talk to their partner, share feelings and really hear and understand each other.

If communication problems are impairing your relationship, don't wait for irreparable damage. Keep in mind that for some couples, therapy may be required.

Finally, as most therapists point out, including the Markmans, "Good marriages take work. Contrary to popular belief, it's not how much you love each other that can best predict the future of your relationship, but how conflicts and disagreements are handled."

Learning better communication techniques in a relationship, or before misunderstandings escalate, will dramatically increase chances for a successful, long-lasting relationship and many Happy Valentine’s Days to come.

About the Author: Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle writer.