6 Skills to Help You Overcome Obstacles in Relationships
Let's keep it real: Relationships aren't easy. They take a lot of work. However, if you truly care and love the person you are in a relationship with, then the effort is worth it.
All relationships will have obstacles—issues that need to be paved out (worked through) in order for a relationship to run more smoothly. This can vary depending on the situation of your relationship. These obstacles can be something that two people can overcome—making them a stronger couple—or they can be severe enough to potentially break a couple up.
Discuss the Issues and Build a Good Foundation
Most people who care for each other want to work on issues that come up versus ignoring them in hopes that they go away. By working on these obstacles together and working through them, you are creating the building blocks for a sturdy foundation for your relationship. Yay, who wouldn't want that?
Unfortunately, I have met a few people who truly believe that if any fighting, arguing or negative issues are discussed—or if their significant other is unhappy—that automatically means they should break-up or that their significant other wants to break-up with them. Seriously?!
When someone is open and, furthermore, wants to discuss an issue (or several) with you, that usually means that they are trying to salvage the relationship, not end things. (Unless of course they have tried to talk to you multiple times and have seen zero results, then yes, people will have a limit to how much they will tolerate.) If you're not doing your part, can you really blame your significant other for wanting to call it quits?
Getting past obstacle(s) does take a lot of work from both people. If you're not open and willing to do your part, then these obstacles will keep resurfacing—until frustration (and feeling as though the other person doesn't care) can potentially (and most likely will) end the relationship.
How do you get through obstacles in a relationship? Here are six steps.
1. Communicate With Each Other
I know I can sound like a broken record, however communication—open and honest—is the key to any successful relationship. I realize discussing and sharing how you feel isn't always easy, however it is imperative if you want your relationship to grow in a healthy way.
Communication is a two-way street. It's when two people can openly discuss important and difficult issues—being able to look each other in the eyes while refraining from having crossed arms. Communication is not when one person shares and the other person bottles up their emotions and just sits there crossed armed while nodding. When this happens it can be easy to accuse the communicator of "nagging" or "talking at you." Yikes!
Here's the thing about communicating, you might not always have the answers or solutions right then and there. It's OK to politely tell your significant other that you need time to respond back—a few hours or even a day or two is fine—as long as you let your partner know that you are still planning on discussing things. Saying nothing and letting days go by gives the perception that you weren't listening and don't really care. No one wants their feelings and concerns swept under a rug.
If finding the appropriate words to communicate effectively is a concern, talk to a trusted friend or family member to help you find the words, use resources online or if this is an ongoing issue for you then seek a great therapist.
Key Lesson: Understand that by holding your emotions in, issues won't get resolved and obstacles in your relationship will only continue to get worse. Communication helps you to connect...silence will cause others to disconnect from you.
2. Develop Mutual Trust
Many of us have trust issues from past relationships that we often carry subconsciously into our next relationships.
If you walk into a relationship with distrust—and you are unable to let this distrust go—how will your relationship be able to progress?
By not trusting that your partner is coming from a loving place when he/she brings their concerns or issues they have regarding you and the relationship you share, then mostly you won't be as open to listening. Remember your current relationship is not your past relationship.
When obstacles arise and your partner is open to communicating these issues with you, trusting them means that you don't assume that they think you're a bad person or that they want to break-up with you unless they actually tell you.
Instead of pulling away, walking away or getting defensive because you fear a break-up, fully open your heart and mind to hear your partner so that you can successfully conquer and move pass obstacles.
Key Lesson: By putting aside your ego and trusting your partner you will create a loving space to have better understanding, more compassion and a stronger foundation to grow from.
3. Hear Your Partner
Often couples will not actively hear each other. The second anything goes negative it can be easy to want to deflect, shut down emotionally or get angry. Yikes!
It's not fun or productive when your partner only hears and takes away from the conversation all the negative stuff that was said.
By ignoring most (and many times all) the positive points that are being said you will miss the entirety of the conversation. This tends to happen (and we all have been guilty of doing this) because we want to wait until it's our turn so that we can vent back insults and complaints.
When you shut down and stop hearing your partner then you are inadvertently letting them know that you don't care.
Most people voice an issue because they want their partner to hear them and take what they are saying seriously. No one likes to share and then feel as if they weren't heard...it's very hurtful and rude.
Key Lesson: In order to move past obstacles it's important to stop internalizing only the bad stuff. It's also important to fully hear your partners concerns, be humble, validate what they are saying and be extremely honest if you not willing and more importantly not able to provide.
4. Give Constructive Feedback
We all need feedback and not every feedback that is given will be sweet, warm and fuzzy.
However, when you care about someone be mindful to leaving name calling and over accessible swearing out of your feedback—as well as throwing things. It's hard for any person to listen if you are in crazy attack mode.
Realistically, depending on how long you have waited to give this feedback or if you have talked about this issue before and you haven't seen any changes regarding the situation, then yes, there will probably be a lot of frustration and sternness in your voice as well as delivery approach—which is understandable.
I get that some people are overly sensitive than others, but that does not mean you should have to walk on egg shells, however that might mean that you need to choose your words more carefully.
Key Lesson: Part of moving past obstacles is reminding yourself that no one is perfect. Depending on your life's journey there may be more feedback given from your significant other and vice-versa. The big reason we connect with others is to learn from each other and grow.
5. Be Open to Receiving Feedback
When you are not open to feedback then it can become easy to label yourself as the "victim."
When you try to talk to someone about issues and their first reaction is that they can "never do anything right," that's a blatant cop-out.
Here's the thing, most people don't enjoy having to give feedback. We would love to think that our relationship are easy going and carefree...but that's just silly fantasy talk. All relationships take work. If you think that you can never do anything right then you mostly likely never will.
If there is genuine caring and love between you and your significant other than believe that the feedback they are giving is to help you learn and grow—as an individual and for the relationship.
Key Lesson: In order to move past obstacles hearing what needs to be worked on—things you may or may not be doing in order to benefit the relationship—and potentially making changes are important. This doesn't mean that the person who's giving the feedback is always right, however if this is feedback you have heard in the past, then reevaluating yourself might be necessary.
6. Follow Through With Integrity
Having an issue(s) discussed and walking away thinking that you are on the same page as your significant other—because they told you that you were—is a great feeling. Right? Well, it doesn't feel that great when you think you are on the same page—again, because your significant other has alluded this—but then you find out you are not. Ugh!
Issues cannot be solved if you're not open and honest about what is realistic for your follow through and what is not.
We all have our strengths and weakness. Often we end up finding partners who are opposite in some of our attributes—which can be a good thing. However, if you are unwilling to work on issues by openly talking, taking in each others advice, or finding a solution that works for both of you, then why be in a relationship?
No one wants to be with someone who just passively agrees in hopes that the issues will magically disappear. That is a very immature way of not dealing with obstacles that will continue to arise.
When we can let go of the delusion that relationships are supposed to be perfect, easy-going, no arguments or fights then we can successfully work on the serious issues that rear their ugly heads.
Key Lesson: Overcoming obstacles in your relationship start with you. Don't make promises that you cannot keep. Refrain from saying that you are going to do something and then you don't. Respect your partner and more importantly respect yourself by being honest.
Remember: You Can Get Through This Together
Bottom line, obstacle can be hard to get through and depending on what the obstacle is, it can be extremely difficult. However, with mutual love, trust, communication, caring, respect and effort as a couple you can conquer some of the biggest obstacles. Simply practice these skills until the hurdles in your relationship become easier together to overcome.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.