Relationship Advice - How to Relate

How to Resolve Relationship Conflict & Relate More Deeply

On this page we offer you some general relationship advice to help you to manage the challenge of relationship or marriage and relate more deeply with your partner.

Read down the page or click on one of these sub-headings:

General Relationship Advice
Relationship Advice - The Stages of Relationship
Gender and Relationshps
Seeking Further Relationship Advice?

General Relationship Advice

Our culture promotes two unhelpful 'myths' about relationship. The first is that we will fall in love with Mr/s Right, and then live happily ever after. The second is that when problems occur in our relationship, it is because they weren't Mr/s Right after all, but were Mr/s Wrong! Which means we should discard them and resume the search for Mr/s Right - hopefully before we get too jaded and give up the search altogether!

At NVC Resolutions our belief is that conflict is inevitable at some point in our relationships. This is due to the very nature of relationship and the dynamics of attraction. The 'stages of relationship' below, explains this more fully. So, if you are in conflict in your relationship, at a point of stalemate, or are wondering if this is the end, our advice to you is - don’t worry! This is a natural part of relationship. Rather than your relationship ending, it probably means that a stage of your relationship has come to an end, and you need to make some changes to move to a new and deeper level of communication and connection in your relationship. You may also find that you need some help. Read some books, go on a relationship course, or consider relationship counselling, which is becoming increasingly acceptable in our society, as an important support tool for the difficult task of relationship.

Relationship Advice - The Stages of Relationship

At NVC Resolutions, we believe that relationship is a path to growth. This path goes through distinctive phases. We divide these into 5 main stages, which we have adapted from a model used by the Centre for Gender Psychology. As you read through, consider which stage you are currently at!

1. Attraction

This is the falling in love stage where everything is rosy and magical. When we are with the other person we have a sense of wholeness, completeness and magic.

2. Maintenance

relationship-diagram.jpgGradually we settle into and create the patterns of our relationship. This means developing the routines of our relationship. These might include living together, and maybe marriage. It also includes establishing our 'safe distance for intimacy' with one another.

3. Polarisation

This stage is pretty much inevitable in relationship, so don't fret if you are in it! We are usually attracted to someone who is opposite to us in several distinct ways. Initially this is fun, but after a while it starts to grate and jar on us. This is often expressed in the form of judgements and criticism of one another. Much pain can be inflicted on each partner in this stage. This is the point where most people end their relationship and look for another partner (often very similar to the last one). But we say that this is where the real purpose of relationship - to challenge us to grow as human beings - kicks in!

4. Healing

This involves the challenging task of integrating into ourselves what we have projected onto our partner. This can mean changing the habits of a lifetime. We may also need to acknowledge and heal the hurt we have caused one another in the previous stage, through our words or actions.

5. Alchemy

If we commit to the work of the previous stage, we eventually emerge as two whole, rounded human beings relating to each other from our wholeness. Our love is born anew on a deeper level! Our relationship also gives us the strength to go out into the world and give to others from the fruits that we are blessed with!

Gender and Relationships

In our culture, in this place and time, it’s inevitable that females and males will be socialised into different ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Our gendered world creates expectations and defines roles: girls and boys, and women and men, are valued for very different qualities. All of us are hindered from a full expression of our strengths and vulnerabilities - in particular those character strengths and virtues which are supposed to ‘belong’ to the other sex.

Whatever our rational beliefs and values, the chances are that some of our unconsciously held attitudes will continue to define us. This can create enormous pain and frustration. How far any of us is able to move beyond these habitual ways of being depends on a complex range of factors. Difficult though it is to excavate learnt gender roles; painful though it is to recognise our limitations and losses, this can be the first step towards a fuller sense of self and a deeper and more rewarding relationship. In acknowledging our deep conditioning into gender stereotypes, men and women can become allies. Together we can move beyond gender bias into more authentic, congruent and liberated ways of being in our relationship and in the world.

Seeking Further Relationship Advice?

Are you wanting more advice or support with your relationship? Why don’t you consider a counselling session with Daren? Daren also offers one to one counselling sessions, in person or by telephone, if you want to talk over your relationship confidentially with someone.