Dating and relationship article
In addition to communication and conflict resolution, the researchers tested for sex or romance, stress management, life skills, knowledge of partners and self-management to see which ones were the best predictors of relationship satisfaction.
Couples were asked questions that tested their competency in all of these areas and then queried about how satisfied they were with their relationships.
“For the last 25 years,” says Tom Bradbury, a veteran couples researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, “the prevailing attitude has been that relationships need to meet our emotional needs.” To be successful, however, he’s also found that relationships need to function in more practical, and perhaps mundane ways as well.
And learning more about your partner, says the study’s lead author Robert Epstein, a professor of psychology at the University of the South Pacific, in Fiji, could be relatively easy if people (men especially, since they scored worse in this area) took the trouble to find out, remember and put to use such relatively simple information as the names of their partner’s relatives and the dates of birthdays and anniversaries.
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If couples were paying any attention during the past few decades, they should be able to recite the one critical ingredient for a healthy relationship — communication.For today’s couples interested in improving their relationships, say the study’s authors, therapists might consider going back to the basics and incorporating more practical social skills into their discussions.And that may include referring those who lack these skills to money managers or career coaches.At every stage of life, our relationships and families present us with both joys and challenges.
Learning to manage stress, to understand our own emotions and behaviors, and to communicate effectively can help strengthen our own emotional health, as well as our connections to the important people in our lives.Even more important, Epstein says, is knowing such critical things as whether your partner wants children.