Due to growing problems of relationship all over the world, managing or regulating good relationships are not easy but are possible with some relationship techniques that are scientifically approved and works well.
Generally, intimacy is believed to be the factor managing relationship, but people have different approaches to intimacy. Some people take time for developing intimacy, some get close to each other easily and some friends turn to be lovers but rewarding relationships do not break up the way unrewarding relationship break up. Rewards are the among the main factors that keep a relationship on track but sometimes relationship change.
Relationship change over the passage of time due to changing life and purpose and may be sometimes due to the activities of the partner. Relationships do not remain the same sometimes they get deteriorated but keep in mind the circumstances that are also playing a role in changing or aggravating relationship problems.
According to Social exchange theory:
Relationships are best regulated when
Relations are maintained by
- Rewards: the social exchange theory states that it is reward that can be given and taken back for a mutual progress of good relations. Law of effect argues that those behaviours which are rewarded they are repeated. If partner A rewards partner B by praising, taking care of him/her or showing love in anyway on a kind of action that partner B played so in the future partner Bb will again show the same action that partner A likes.
- Fun: both partners as a couple enjoy fun with each other and remain happy finding fun and enjoyment in the relationship as they combinedly enjoy the fun in their lives.
- Company: the sharing of feelings with the opposite gender and love is among the human needs. This is a kind of emotional attachment with your partner where you share your feelings and your partner shares feelings. This is a mutual exchange of feelings and emotional attachment and support for couple.
- Intimacy: intimacy is a sharing element between partners which is considered natural in every relationship that’s why marriage is considered a solution by most people to have an intimate relationship. But partners should understand the nature of intimacy.
According to social psychologists, social exchange makes a balance sheet of business of relationship as both partners have to exchange fun, company, and intimacy.
Among rewards, best rewards are
- Happiness that is shared with your partner
- Subjective awareness about rewards are that females consider understanding themselves and their self-importance are the important rewards for them whereas male partners prefer intimacy as a good reward for themselves.
- Research shows that loss for women in this imbalance of relationship is self-identity and for men is monetary loss.
Sometimes couple continue relationship even in the absence of such rewards because it’s the investment according to equity theory that when a partner spends time with another partner this becomes an investment and they do not like to quit. (a positive sign)
In this situation, the suffering one should talk to other partner to suggest what they can do to improve their relationship. Sometimes, talking on the problems with possible solution becomes the need of the time to make it on track.
Equity theory explains relationship in terms of input and output. For example, male partner’s time spending with the partner, financial help, sharing feelings of love, gifting, helping in household or official matters, arranging a dinner or going out to relax on weekend can be the examples that a male partner would do as input for making relationship stronger and more loving. Similarly, the female partner should also try to give output to the male partner by giving an input the same way the male partner does. This creates equality of giving input and getting output because it’s a mutual exchange.
- Advice: an advice is given to the partners not to count the costs of relationship only but count the rewards and don’t try for alternatives rather try to maintain your existing relationship because choosing alternative can easily become habituated again, so the problem may remain the same.
- Equity theory argues there should not much difference between the input and output by both partners because it can give rise to problems in relations. Partner with higher input and getting less output may feel dissatisfied and partner with less input and more output feels guilty. This makes relationship unhealthy and unequal if the purpose is a short-term relationship but for long term relationship, couple try to recover and improve their relationship.
This balance can be achieved by
- Giving equal input instead of a lot of input plus encouraging your partner to equally contribute if he/she is not doing so.
- Secondly, change the perspective or view the rewards from another healthy perspective.
A study conducted by walster et al (1978) concluded the results after graduate students’ data asking about the input and output of the relationship by both partners and their surety about being together by scoring 1-5 on questionnaire. Interestingly, 4 and half months later, those at the time of questions had positive attitude about the equity of their relationship were confident to continue relationship. On the other hand, those who appeared dissatisfied with the equity of their relationship at the time of questioning were not intending to continue their relations after 4 and half months later.
- Researchers found that there is an association between equity and the relationship satisfaction. Perhaps, when partners see less equity their feeling of dissatisfaction can be induced and as a result finding relationship less healthy and supportive. As being different personalities, partners may not always agree with each other on every point of view but a compromise on both part can save their arguments and solve their problems. Research confirmed the association of happiness with equity and it dissociates equity with dissatisfaction.
- ‘’Being with the partner makes me happy’’ confirming ‘’we have quarrels and ‘’irritation between the couple were the statements of investigation. Maris concluded that a perception of having less output in relations by women was associated to the breakdown taking place later.
- Some researchers found this equilibrium factor as affecting individual oriented families rather combined families couples.
It explains investment and commitment in relationship and these keep couple stay together. Such as time spending with each other or sharing feelings are intrinsic investment that keep couples stay. Whereas something that cannot be lost such as photos, or group of mutual friends can keep couple stay together as extrinsic investment.
- Couples remain together when they depend on each other fulfilling their needs. These needs may be basic needs of survival and social needs of connectedness. Sometimes, a long-term relationship cannot easily be broken just because couples see their dependency for themselves and the time they have spent strengthens their dependency it’s a kind of great investment in relationship.
- A study on married couples explored about commitment by both of the partners in their marriage a sign of stable relationship. (Impett, Beals & Peplau, 2003). A meta-analysis study also confirmed commitment a predicting element in stability. The time and effort made in a relation can even help stay in relationship in the presence of a violent partner.
Rusbult (Rusbult et al., 1991) found that women like to discuss about problems in their relationship intending for improvement, but men do not talk about such problems and refuse to talk. This can aggravate the problems such as gender behaviours can increase misunderstanding because women consider men as careless when they do not talk about relationship problems and men consider women to make irritate by talking much about problems.
Couples having secure attachment style usually find solutions to improve relations in time of bad situations with partner by adjusting and improving themselves as partners (Kobak and Hazan, 1991).
Whereas, in ambivalent attachment style, couples experience anxiety and express anger while arguments about relationship problems because they are much aware of emotional states of partners.
For a happy and unhappy relationship, Gottman conducted longitudinal study and indicated that four factors were shared by unhappy couples. These are;
- Criticism: criticism on partner on many matters.
- Defensiveness: unhappy partner judges his/her own behaviour as right and that of the partner’s behaviour as wrong.
- Contempt: a strong feeling that partner is good enough.
- Stonewalling: ignoring to talk about relationship problems.
Couples who intend to stay happy may think on the mentioned factors.
Constructive ways that help run relationship satisfied by Rusbult are,
Constructive ways that help run relationship satisfied by Rusbult are,
- Accommodative Behaviour: reacting in a constructive way to a problem rather than putting yourself in competing arguments. As arguments between couple can create problem in their relationship.
- Blindness on alternatives: you have to keep your eyes closed for alternative people if you intend to improve your relationship because conflicts in all long-term relationships are unavoidable, but you have to manage it in a better way.
- Compromise: in order to maintain relationship smoothly, couples have to compromise their own targets or activities which can imped the smooth running of their relationship. Compromise is done where there are less options and where sacrifice of a partner can save relationship. It’s a very helping tool in many cases when couples get into conflict and the important is that a partner should understand how a single sacrifice can save them from many problems. Compromise should be doable to save yourself not be affected by a bad habit of your partner or a conflict. In this case ‘’acceptance’’ is the way to deal with a problem. Accepting the bad or disgusting habits of your partner because acceptance gives you a way to be on track of life and go on. Along acceptance try to focus on the positive aspects of relationship and appreciate that.
Education and employment:
Those couples who are qualified and are employed they have happier relationships and they have stability (Karney & Bradbury, 1995).
Defining yourself as a different person from others around you is a key to understand your sensitivity and your strengths. Being a partner, you have to understand yourself, your needs, sensitivity and your temperament as a unique personality can help you get control over many problems in your social and married life.
Couples must understand themselves as being different personalities living together while taking care of each other. This understanding of themselves can really help them how to communicate, what to take care of and what things to ignore and consider things not for them. There are many other factors such as habituation a very important factor will be discussed next.
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- Rusbult, C.E. (1983) a Longitudinal test of the investment model. The development (and deterioration) of satisfaction and commitment in heterosexual involvement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45: 101-17.
- Rusbult, C.E., Verette, J., Whitney, G.A, Slovik, L.F. and Lipkus, I. (1991) Accommodation processes in close relationships: theory and preliminary empirical evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60: 533-78.
- Rusbult, C. and Zembrodt, I.M (1983) Responses to dissatisfaction in romantic involvements: A multi-dimensional scaling analysis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19: 274-93.
Walster, E., Walster, G.W. and Berscheid, E. (1978) Equity Theory and Research. Boston, MA: Allyn.