Although Brit and I have lived together for a handful of years, we haven’t spent this much time together at home due to the current circumstances the world is in. I want to acknowledge the fact that a lot of you are likely in the same boat. So today, I bring you 5 underrated skills to level up your relationship.
Skill #1: Communication
Open communication will allow both partners to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings. How can you expect your partner to know how you feel about something if you don’t say it yourself? Sure, some of us can attempt to be mind-readers but how many times were you wrong when assuming your partners’ thoughts? I can usually guess what Brit is thinking but never am I always right. Communication goes both ways, so create a space that is comfortable for both of you to share what’s on your mind.
Skill #2: Calmness
Calmness can diffuse almost any argument/disagreement. Brit and I often have differing opinions and ideas, which sometimes land us in hot water. If your partner is agitated or upset about something, remain calm and refer back to skill #1, communicate! Many people will naturally elevate their emotions when in an argument. In other words, you may feel angry because your partner is angry. If you remain calm, your partner will likely start to ‘calm down’ as well.
Skill #3: Negotiation
When I thought about adding negotiation on this list, I initially thought of ‘compromise’. Although that is the point I am trying to get at, I find the word compromise can be perceived negatively. Sometimes comprising can feel more like a sacrifice, which is NOT the way to look at it. Think of it as an opportunity to experience something new, or better yet, get the best of both worlds.
An example of negotiation would be walking your dog or taking out the garbage/recycling. The night before waste collection day, Brit and I often would split duties to accelerate the ‘chores’. If Brit takes Scooby for a walk, while I put all the garbage to the curb, that effectively cuts each of our chores in half and saves time.
Skill #4: Optimism
Feeding off my last point, you have to look at the positive side of things. Being a Negative Nelly all the time doesn’t sound like fun, for either partner. Being optimistic will help both of you achieve common goals. Let’s say you planned to do a date night outside but suddenly starts raining, dampening your plans. What’s the point on pouting about it? Think of something else to do, such as bowling or go see a movie. Still get your date night but now you are adding excitement by being spontaneous.
Skill #5: Emotional Validation
Emotional validation starts as early as childhood. Thinking of human psychology, we have the need to feel accepted. Being shunned or left on the outside while feeling upset can be psychologically draining. Furthermore, it can lead to traumatic moments in someone’s life.
Emotional validation is accepting someone regardless of their emotions. Think of the stereotype that a man who cries is weak. Because of that stereotype, a lot of men put effort into withholding emotions. It took me a while to let my emotions out, especially when I had the urge to cry. Brit will never dismiss my emotions, positive or negative. Because of that, I now have fewer negative emotion-filled moments. Bottling up anger, sadness and stress only lead to them trickling into your happiness, excitement and pleasure. Almost leaving a scar on what should be purely joyful moments.
Practicing emotional validation encompasses everything mentioned above, including open-communication, calmness, negotiation and optimism. If you can emotionally validate each other, you are guaranteed to level up your relationship.
That wraps up my list of 5 underrated skills to level up your relationship. If you have your own valuable skills in a relationship, let us know what they are in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!