Discover how to safeguard your relationship by addressing warning signs like overwhelming negativity, toxic communication, highly stressful arguments, and rejected olive branches. Learn effective strategies for fostering positivity, managing conflict, and nurturing emotional connections. Strengthen your bond and ensure a lasting, satisfying relationship through consistent effort and communication.
How To Safeguard Your Relationship Against The Real Causes Of Separation And Divorce
Every couple experiences disagreements. Then as we start families, the number of joint decisions increases, leading to more conflicts. The success of your relationship depends on how you approach these disagreements. To safeguard your relationship, it’s essential to learn to address and resolve issues together.
When we try to ignore issues in our relationships, they tend to grow. The paperwork might say “irreconcilable differences” but what really happens when relationships break down? And how can you do your best to protect yours? Every couple could benefit from learning the warning signs of a relationship in trouble and discovering effective strategies to protect your bond.
Here are four warning signs that your relationship may be in trouble:
- Overwhelming negativity
- Toxic communication
- Highly stressful arguments
- Olive branches getting rejected
In this blog post, we’ll explore each of these warning signs, and provide some tips on how to protect and strengthen your relationship.
1. Safeguard Your Relationship From Overwhelming Negativity
Healthy relationships have a 20:1 ratio of positive:negative interactions. Struggling ones find themselves hitting something closer to a 1:1 ratio. What’s your ratio been like lately?
If you’re concerned about how many negative interactions you’ve been having, here are some things you can do:
- Actively look for nice things to say to your partner (express gratitude and compliments)
- Engage your partner with open-ended questions (download your free list here)
- Be responsive to your partner, aiming to notice and say something back each time they speak to you, touch you, look at you, or even just make a random comment
2. Combat Toxic Communication Styles In Your Relationship
Criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling can severely damage relationships.
When these communication styles become habits, they lead to declining relationship satisfaction, and they’ve been found to be the greatest predictors of divorce.
Break these habits by:
- Addressing issues gently, instead of criticising
- Taking responsibility for your actions, instead of getting defensive
- Focusing on positivity and expressing appreciation
- Practicing self-soothing techniques when you start to feel overwhelmed, so you’re less likely to withdraw
3. Prevent Highly Stressful Arguments From Damaging Your Relationship
“Flooding” happens when we feel overwhelmed by negativity, triggering a fight-or-flight response. it’s impossible to constructively solve problems or manage conflict when we’re in this state. To prevent this from harming your relationship:
- Develop strategies for taking breaks during arguments
- Respect your partner’s need for a break
- Practice self-soothing and calming techniques
You can read more about “flooding” and how to resolve arguments constructively here.
4. Ensure Olive Branches Aren’t Rejected In Your Relationship
We all mess up in how we talk to our partners, including getting critical and defensive. Watch out for conversations becoming heated or spiralling downwards. Try to change direction with an apology, a positive statement, or a request to calm things down. (You can download a whole list of examples here.)
When relationships are in a really bad place, these olive branches sometimes get ignored or ridiculed, which makes things much worse.
To avoid rejection of these olive branches:
- Take responsibility for your communication and hold yourself to a high standard of respectful conversations
- Respond positively to your partner’s repair attempts, accepting them as attempts to improve the conversation
Foster Positivity and Manage Negativity in Your Relationship
Healthy relationships need plenty of positivity, and good management of the inevitable moments of negativity. Ultimately, they depend on us doing two things:
- Investing in our friendships with our partners (fostering positivity)
- Working on the way we handle conflict (managing negativity)
To foster positivity:
- Keep talking to your partner about how you’re feeling and what you need as you and your lives grow and change
- Ask open-ended questions so you keep getting to know your partner too
- Give thanks and compliments every day
- Respond to your partner whenever they seem to want your attention
- Express yourself clearly, directly, and respectfully
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong
- Create a meaningful life together through family rituals, intimacy, romance, and emotional connection
To manage negativity:
- Talk to each other without distractions about how you both are and what you need – every day
- Practise constructive problem-solving skills like raising issues gently, accepting influence from each other, offering olive branches, and compromising
- Take a break when either of you feels “flooded”
- Watch out for the signs of relationship meltdown as outlined above, and don’t delay seeking help if you’re concerned
The happiest relationships happen between couples who make small gestures every day to keep the love alive. Life can be stressful, and it’s normal for our values and goals to change as our roles shift over the years. Dedicating time and effort to your relationship is the best way to build a strong, healthy family. That’s how to safeguard your relationship.
Safeguard Your Relationship: Get Some Help
Ultimately the best way for you to safeguard your relationship might be to work with a professional who can provide valuable insights and strategies that are tailored to your specific situation.
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