When you’re newly married, it’s easy to get your relationships mangled, because you’re taking time to “focus on building your new family”. Interpersonal relationships comprise every relationship that fulfills a range of physical and emotional needs for you.
These are the people who you’re closest to in your life. And while your spouse is the eighth world wonder, you need these people too.
Romantic relationships are interpersonal, as well as those of family members and friends. There’s also such a thing as secondary interpersonal relationships. These include acquaintances, neighbours, and others who you interact with on a regular basis.
In short, you have some kind of interpersonal relationship with everyone you know.
Whether you’re married or single, relationships are important for our emotional and physical well-being. So it’s necessary to learn how to develop and maintain them.
The importance of interpersonal relationships
Some reasons for these relationships are listed below:
- Interpersonal relationships are important for your overall physical and emotional happiness. Relationships help fight loneliness while also giving you a sense of purpose in life.
- The closeness you feel with family and friends is an essential part of your social support. Relationships in other aspects of your life outside of romance and family can also have a positive effect on you; such as getting together with acquaintances for a shared interest or hobby.
- All interpersonal relationships are built on loyalty, support, and trust. Close relationships may also be built on love. Mutual respect and reciprocation of these qualities is important in maintaining all your relationships. Otherwise, the relationship can become one-sided.
- Family, friends and intimate relationships are necessary for everyday life.
Interpersonal relationships after marriage
When you get married, especially in an African setting, your circle of family widens to include in-laws. We cannot fully discuss interpersonal relationships after marriage without considering your relationships with in-laws as well. The significance of these relationships will show in many facets of life, including the quality of your marriage.
Although your relationships with in-laws share some similarities with relationships with your parents, you form your in-law ties as an adult. So you don’t necessarily share a long history with them.
Maintaining interpersonal relationships with family after marriage
1. Be Open
Any strong relationship needs to have the willingness to be open. This means the ability and desire to share what you’re thinking and your feelings about different subjects. When you are open and willing to share, it shows the other person that you care about the relationship; that you want to create a close connection by being truthful and receptive to the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
There’s a limit to your openness in a marriage. You want to cultivate a beautiful relationship with your old and new family; but you want to protect your marriage too. And honestly, the latter is more important.
2. Show Empathy
Here’s a saying you may have heard before:
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Powerful stuff. One of the deepest human desires is to feel understood. When you show empathy towards someone else, you are showing that you care enough to understand how they feel. And that goes a really long way in maintaining strong relationships.
Remember to show empathy whenever the opportunity presents itself in your relationships. This helps all of us feel more supported, understood, and most importantly, connected. And this goes for your family members, your in-laws, and even your spouse. Let’s also include your friends, your co-workers, and everybody you meet.
3. Be Respectful
It goes without saying that in order to help build and maintain strong relationships, you will need to be respectful — respectful of the other person’s time, opinion, feelings, and so on. This is vitally important in one on one relationships such as a marriage or close friendship.
The same really holds true in close relationships that involve a group type dynamic.
4. Be Available
Giving your time is like giving a gift. Time is the one thing we all have the same amount of — same 24 hours in a day, same amount of days in a week, etc. How you choose to spend that time says a lot about you. And being available to someone shows that you value them enough to spend your time with them. That is absolutely huge. Family visits, picnics, and annual reunions will go a long way to strengthen your bond.
Being giving of your time shows the other person that you care enough about them and the relationship to share your most valuable commodity. Being available to someone will do wonders for maintaining strong personal relationships.
5. Establish Boundaries
Boundaries are critical for healthy relationships. A boundary is a belief, or way of life, or conviction that you have. It involves your beliefs, values, and limits. It’s important to be clear to other people in your life, especially the strong interpersonal relationships, about what your boundaries are. It helps to create self-esteem and respect in the relationship. It’s basically showing others what you stand for and what you will and won’t allow in your life.
6. Be a Good Listener
Something most people tend to forget is that listening is half of all communication. And when we get really good at listening, it becomes more than half of our communication. That’s because being a good listener will do wonders for your strong relationships.
Showing that you are actively listening will help boost the other person’s self-esteem because it shows that you truly care about what they are saying. This makes them feel important and shows that you seek to understand. It also means that you care about how the other person feels.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com
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