How To Fix Relationship Problems – Master Issues In Your Relationship
Even in the happiest and most stable relationship problems and issues can occur from time to time. In healthy relationships these things are usually resolved quickly. Every relationship crisis is a chance to grow together as a couple.
There are many kinds of problems that can come up in a relationship, and there are basically three ways to resolve them:
In this case, both partners decide to accept the situation as it is and consciously deal with it.
Leaving the situation:
If there seems to be no solution to the problem the only option is to split up. This is the case when both have a strong opinion and are not willing to deviate from it. Typical examples are if one partner wants children while the other doesn’t, or if one is willing to move to another country while the other can’t imagine leaving their current location.
Fixing the relationship problem together:
This option means that both partners find a compromise or ways to deal with it and respect the partner’s differing opinion. Communication is the key to success here.
Fixing Relationship Problems – What Is Important?
First of all both partners have to admit that there’s a problem in their relationship and they must be willing to work on it. The setting for the solution-finding stage is very important. It should be a place where both feel comfortable and relaxed. For some, the ideal place is on the couch with a nice glass of wine while others prefer to have a walk and discuss their issues in nature.
Time also plays an important role. You should agree on a time when you are both able to fully concentrate on the topic without any time pressure or interruptions. Switch off your phone, don’t interrupt your partner, and listen carefully. Finding the ideal time and place is the first step before before the actual problem-solving starts.
Issues In A Relationship – It’s often “only” a Communication Problem
Communication plays the most important role in any healthy and happy relationship. Many people expect their partner to cold read their feelings and wishes. Expecting the partner to know what’s wrong with you automatically or just by showing that you’re not happy often won’t work.
Sometimes the partner doesn’t even notice that something is wrong. The result is that dissatisfaction and anger are build up until it’s too late. Things that would have been solved easily if we communicated them right away turn into serious relationship issues.
Communication issues are very common in relationships. Try to articulate when you want something or don’t like certain things. Tell your partner if you want to spend more time together, how you feel, what you need, and what you’re afraid of. Address things directly and in the best case you already come up with one or two suggestions on how you could change things together.
Tip: Start your phrases with “I”
Just like setting boundaries in a relationship, it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters when solving problems. When talking to your partner, use phrases like, “I feel” or “I wish” instead of confronting your partner with phrases like, “You always do” or “You never do.”
You don’t want to put your partner in a defensive position. Once he or she is there it will be difficult to bring the conversation back on track. Try to describe the problem as you see it and in a friendly, non-accusing manner.
Some positive examples:
I felt… when this happened.
I feel…when you…
Avoid phrases like:
I know you…
You are always… to me or at me
You always make me feel…
How To Fix Relationship Problems And Issues In Four Steps
1) Identify The Problem
The first step is to identify and define the exact problem the couple has. Some people are often not even aware of the things that have been on their partner’s mind for weeks or even months. Both partners should therefore be aware of what the problem is and which issue they are trying to solve.
Examples Of Issues In A Relationship:
- Financial problems
- Communication issues in the relationship
- Long-distance relationship problems
- Sexual problems
- Education of the children
- Issues with setting boundaries in a relationship
- Relationship problems because of the family
- Disputes about the job and work-life balance
- Arguments about friends
- Household duties
- Values, priorities, and goals in life
- Lack of attention
- Too much or not enough distance
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2) Define The Goal – What Do We Want To Achieve?
The next step in fixing relationship problems is to define a concrete and achievable goal. The SMART method is perfect for this purpose. It helps to find a specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and time-bound goal.
Both partners should pursue the same goal and work together towards it. Only teamwork makes it possible to actually accomplish the desired outcome.
Helpful questions for goal setting:
- What do we want to achieve?
- How does it feel when the current problem is solved? What has changed?
3) The Plan – Create A Master Plan To Fix The Relationship Issue
Once both partners are aware of the problem and a common goal is defined, it’s time to create an action plan. What is the best way to fix the issue? What specific steps and changes are necessary along the way? Who is responsible for which part and how can both help each other?
4) Taking Action, Creating Change, And Celebrating Success
This is certainly the most challenging part of fixing relationship problems. It’s time to take action and implement all the solutions that you’ve elaborated together with your partner.
It’s important to stay on track and to support each other along the way. After all, it’s only possible to accomplish the milestones and the goal together.
Journaling or regular (self-) reflection are great ways to see the progress that has already been made. Identifying roadblocks becomes much easier and the sooner they are visible the easier will it be to overcome them.
Another idea would be to agree to a certain day and time each week when you both talk about the progress. Ask yourself questions like “What has worked well and where’s still room for improvement?”
Success! The Relationship Problem Is Solved – And now?
Once the problem has (hopefully) been solved you could take some time to reflect and use this experience to grow as a couple. Analyze together how you mastered the crisis and what could be taken away from it for other areas of your relationship.
Try to keep habits you have built that have proven to be useful during the problem-solving process. A typical new habit could be the weekly date where everyone talks about their challenges and experiences of the week.
Here are 14 Impactful Worksheets & Exercises for Couples Therapy, Relationship Coaching, and as a Self Help to overcome relationship problems. Three worksheets specifically help to fix relationship problems.