Emotional intelligence: the 7 skills needed for healthy relationships
At its heart, lasting love requires emotional intelligence; the ability to know what to say and do to help keep the spark alive. With the help of our in-house psychologist, Salama Marine, EliteSingles looked at the seven skills shared by people in healthy relationships. Are you ready for lasting love? Start here.
Skill 1: Making an effort to spend time together
As countless advice columns will tell you, spending quality time together is an essential tool with which to nourish your relationship. Here’s the thing though – this time doesn’t necessarily have to involve sweeping romantic gestures. Even something as simple as reading your books side by side before turning off the light can create a sense of shared togetherness; a wonderful way to build the sense that the two of you are a team who can face anything.
READ MORE: find some great suggestions for spending time together with our article about romantic date ideas.
Skill 2: Remembering that it’s ok to have time apart
While shared hobbies can be very strengthening for a relationship, as our in-house psychologist Salama Marine points out, it is also important to not lose sight of your own interests. It’s ok – and, indeed, very healthy – to have some activities that you do separately. Marine says ‘’Finding the right balance between [individual and couple time] is one of the most difficult exercises in any relationship. It takes work, every day, but once you find the right rhythm, your relationship can’t get much healthier.’’
Skill 3: Saying sorry when you’re in the wrong
This is something that is easy to say but much harder to put into practice. If you know you’re in the wrong, just saying sorry is enough. Don’t waste your (and their time) explaining all the reasons why you didn’t mean to be wrong – for your partner will know that it wasn’t intentional. Of course, the flip side of this is that you also have to learn to let things go. Those in loving, healthy relationships don’t hold on to anger, frustration or resentment. If someone apologises, and you accept their apology – make sure you mean it!
Skill 4: Learning the art of compromise (and accepting that there may not be a ‘right’ answer!)
She likes to leave the dishes to soak while he sings the praises of a clutter free sink. Left to fester, this clash of opinion could become something huge, with one partner giving in or losing – or this couple could realise that neither of them is fundamentally ‘right’ and work out a compromise. Working through these small things is important as it means the big issues will be that much easier to face – you’ll have had the practice. Marine agrees, saying that ‘’At the beginning of a relationship, some people tend to make concessions because of love, because of passion – but they do it so much, that sometimes they forget their own stance. This can accumulate, which...can make discussion difficult when real compromise is needed.’’
READ MORE: Doing chores for each other shows you care. Learn 15 more ways to say I love you here.
Skill 5: Facing hurdles as a team
There’s a saying that goes ‘’never forget, it’s you and me vs. the problem – not you vs. me’’ and it’s a great thing to keep in mind when you hit the bumps on the relationship road. Essentially, it means that those in healthy relationships try to never lose sight of the fact that they aren’t really mad at each other; instead they are upset at a problem and the best solution is to unite against it. And this might need the compromise and communication skills mentioned earlier. Marine advises: ‘’take the time to really understand your partner by listening to and respecting his/her ideas and show that are attentive to his/her arguments by asking questions. This will help you find and propose solutions in agreement with both parties.’’
Skill 6: Taking time to laugh together
Of course, healthy relationships aren’t always about having Very Serious Talks. Yes, sometimes, it’s vital to work through the issues – but it is just as important to treat your partner as your ally for the fun times too! Remembering to laugh together is absolutely essential: it creates an incredibly strong sense of camaraderie between the two of you and can form the basis of private jokes that will keep on bonding you together years after the fact. Besides, healthiness is so often linked to happiness – and what better way to celebrate happiness than joyously laughing with someone?
Skill 7: Remembering, above all, to appreciate your partner
As any long-term relationship goes on, it’s only natural that the crazy, rip-your-clothes-off-right-now infatuation stage will fade. When this happens, it is vital to keep reminding yourself of just how amazing it is that your partner chose you – and, to paraphrase Sherman Alexie, that they keep choosing you, day after day.1 Marine points out that: ‘’it’s the responsibility of both partners to... continue to seduce each other. Whether by regular compliments or through small attentions you have to prove as often as possible that you are invested in this relationship and that you don’t take your partner for granted.’’ And there’s another bonus too – by constantly reminding yourself about your amazing partner, you may just find yourself falling deeper in love with them each day.
READ MORE: Want romantic inspiration? Read about one of our real-life Kiwi success stories, a true love tale from close to home.
Healthy relationships are a bit like trees - with the right knowledge you can nourish them until they grow into something long-lasting and incredible. Of course, it helps to start with strong roots; with a connection that is based on true compatibility. Let EliteSingles help you find just such a compatible partner - join us today.