Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I am having been dating my fiancée for a few years now and we recently started planning our wedding. She is a good woman and I want to start our marriage out on the right foot. I have read several of your articles on BMWK. You talk a lot about respect, good communication and trust. I agree that all these things are needed to have a great relationship, but are there other things that are needed?
We are planning on contacting you for pre-marital coaching in the near future, but I wanted to ask a question first. I want to know which skills should we work on developing so that we can have a successful marriage. All marriages have challenges and we do not want to contribute to the 50% divorce rate. Struggle and adversity happens in relationships and people are walking away from their marriages to easy. What Skills Are Needed to Successfully Overcome Relationship Adversity?
Talk to you soon and thanks,
Mr. Get it Right
Dear Mr. Get It Right,
I commend you for seeking pre-marital coaching, especially with me. Your proactive behavior is noteworthy and makes me feel excited about the work that I do. Also, thanks for reading my articles on BMWK. The owners Lamar and Ronnie Tyler are providing a great platform for singles and couples to get great information. Now that the infomercial is over, I will answer you question.
Two of the most important interpersonal skills that are needed to successfully connect with your spouse and overcome relationship adversity are Empathy and Resilience. Let me define both and explain why they are needed.
Skill #1: Empathy
Empathy is an indispensable life skill that requires a certain level of intellectual and emotional aptitude in order to recognize and understand the thoughts, emotions and perspectives that others might experience.
Simply stated, Empathy is not just about “walking in others’ shoes”. Empathy is the ability to connect with others in a manner in which they feel understood and emotionally safe.
Lack of empathy is one thing that makes individuals miserable in their relationships. If you cannot empathize with others then you are unlikely to care about them. Some people are good at objectifying other people, treating them like ‘things’ and even abusing them without any feeling of remorse. If you desire to develop and sustain a healthy relationship, you must learn to be empathetic.
Empathy enables you to connect with your spouse, restore trust and heal when faced with relationship adversity.
Skill #2: Resilience
Resilience is defined differently for many individuals because it takes on many forms and has various components, but most researchers agree that resilience is associated with an individual’s ability to bounce back after facing adversity or hardship. To add to this basic understanding, I personally define resilience as the ability to bounce back wiser, better, and stronger after facing adversity. Resilient individuals recover quicker and cope with pressure or stressors in an effective manner.
Being resilient will enable you to move forward and prosper in a health manner after experiencing adversity. Resilient couples find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled couples find problems in every solution.
During our pre-marital coaching sessions, I will help you and your fiancée become more empathetic and build resilience, which involves broadening your emotional intelligence. By broadening your emotional intelligence both you and your fiancée will be able to successfully navigate through life and love with a sense of belonging and optimism. Unfortunately, experiencing relationship adversity is unavoidable, but coping with it in an empathetic and resilient manner is doable. I look forward to working with you and your fiancée.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.