Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis

Some couples seem invincible in the face of every difficulty. What has made their relationship so strong over time?

We create long-term relationships because in them we find the meaning of human coexistence. Through a meaningful life relationship we experience fullness, personal fulfillment, satisfaction with life. The stronger a couple is, the easier it is to deal with difficulties, which instead of being a threat end up creating mental reserves. But what is the secret of really strong couples?

In her book ” 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don’t Do “, renowned psychotherapist and author Amy Morin states that relationships play a very important role in our mental resilience and that both partners have, if they wish, the ability to help each other the other to build the mental strength he needs to reach his full potential.

Among the 13 “mistakes” that she has observed made by modern couples who fail to build the durable relationship they desire, there are recorded the lack of good communication, the lack of boundaries, secrets, but also the lack of privacy, the lack of respect, stagnation in personal development, etc. However, there is one particular mistake, which she judges to be fundamental and it has to do with the moments when the couple has a heated disagreement.

Strong couples never use their emotions as ‘weapons’

A key feature of healthy relationships is that both partners can openly express their feelings , Morin points out. This, however, is very different from using their emotions to manipulate a situation . You will know if you (or your partner) do this if you recognize some of the following behaviors:

  • You cry to get the other person to stop saying something that upsets you.
  • You try with outbursts of anger to convince your partner to change his opinion.
  • You try to convince him/her by inducing guilt.
  • You ask to avoid discussing topics that upset you.
  • When you are angry you stop talking to him/her.
  • You point out to your partner that you are too sensitive to handle some issues.

In short, strong couples try to manage their emotions and not use them to control each other’s behavior.


What a really strong couple never does

Illustration: Eleni Kastrinoyannis


Why do they do this and how can it be changed?

The answer is simple, says Morin: People use their emotions as “weapons” because they see that they “catch” . If your partner wants to avoid a situation, the easiest thing is to tell you that it is stressing him or that he is currently under a lot of pressure. If you want to force your partner to stop saying something that bothers you, the easiest way is to raise your voice. These reactions may indeed be effective at the given moment, but on the one hand they do not solve the deeper problem (the emotional chaos that the respective partner may be experiencing), on the other hand they undermine the durability of the relationship.

The good news is that there is a way to change this habit if you want to shield your relationship. Morin gives 3 helpful tips:

1. Set new emotional rules

People change as the years go by and that is not a bad thing as long as the change brings a positive development in the relationship as well. But if you notice behaviors that you no longer tolerate, it’s time to point them out and set new boundaries. For example, if your partner slams doors or puts his hand on the table when you argue and you get upset, you should say so and ask him to find another way to express his anger.

2. Respect, acknowledge and care for the other person’s feelings

“When a conversation gets heated, take a break,” advises Morin. “Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, but don’t allow his/her behavior to clear yours. That is, he separated behavior from emotion. He has a right to feel what he feels. But he is also responsible for that feeling and how he handles it.” So, your partner may feel irritated, angry, sad, but they cannot scream at you, ignore you or insult you.

3. Come up with a plan together

The couple who values ​​the resilience of their relationship is the one who will recognize problems like the above and seek optimal solutions that will satisfy both of them. As the psychotherapist concludes, “there is no scientific formula that makes strong couples. However, it is definitely required of both of them to express their feelings openly and honestly and to solve problems taking each other’s feelings into account .’

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