February may be the month of the love, but everyone knows it takes more than chocolates, flowers and dinner dates to make a relationship work. A strong and healthy relationship is built on the three C’s: Communication, Compromise and Commitment. Whether you’re in the throes of a budding relationship or celebrating decades of marriage, everyone could use a refresher course in the three C’s:
Think about how you use communication to make your partner feel needed, desired, and appreciated. Remember, communication is verbal and non-verbal, so actions speak volumes. Also think about your listening skills, a major component to healthy communication.
It’s not always what is said, but ‘how’ it is said, that’s important. For example, criticizing is usually just a negative way of making a request. “You never pick up the clothes” is really just, “Could you try harder to put your clothes in the laundry? It would save me a ton of time.”
If a couple communicates with anger, aggression, abusive language, or shutting down, it signals areas of concern that might be best addressed by a professional.
There’s a saying, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” When two people come together, they each bring individual experiences, thoughts, behaviors, and personalities to the table. Finding common ground means expressing opinions, understanding and accepting differences, and agreeing on a compromise. If both people feel heard and understood, it helps prevent one person from always feeling like they’re “giving in,” which can build resentment over time.
More than just fidelity; commitment means putting each other and the relationship first. This requires a lot of giving, and certainly some sacrifice, but the payoff is creating a relationship that brings true joy and fulfillment to each other’s lives. Knowing that each person is committed to working through challenges and growing together builds trust and intimacy, while releasing the fears and doubts that hold couples back.
Relationships can be challenging, and may take a toll on mental health, physical health, mood, or even focus at work. For help with any relationship or personal concern, feel free to speak with a professional counselor through the Employee Assistance Program—ACI Specialty Benefits. Contact (800) 932-0034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.