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More PsychNotes: Relationships

July 22, 2018       
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The Secret of Strong Relationships
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

Choosing to solve conflict is choosing to strengthen your relationship.

Recently, I explained to my granddaughter what makes strong relationships. So often, especially in dysfunctional families, people demand love, respect, loyalty. But such demands weaken relationships, not strengthen them.

Strong relationships are the result of a series of choices. Every conflict, every tragedy, every problem in a relationship leads to a moment of choice: “Am I going to solve this? Do I choose to endure it? Or, am I going to allow it to fester, grow, and interfere with my relationship?”

Most of the time this choice is unconscious. However, every time a person decides to solve the problem or to support the other person during a crisis, it is a decision to preserve, renew, and/or affirm the relationship.

Each time such a decision is made, the relationship grows stronger. Conflict or life circumstances can bolster relationships as long as people choose to solve problems and to bear the hardships of life.

By recognizing this choice and making it more conscious, fortifying relationships becomes even more manageable. Choosing to solve conflict is choosing to strengthen your relationship. Choosing to endure the crises and tragedies reinforces your commitment to those you love. Problems can be opportunities to make your relationships better.

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