Three Skills Needed for a Successful Relationship

Couple in bathEveryone knows that in order to succeed in business, you have to be assertive. Resting on your laurels and expecting success to show up on your doorstep is not going to get you to the top. There are many other skills that people need to achieve professional success. Some of those are taught, some are acquired, and some are absorbed, almost through osmosis. Many people who attain these skills and apply them to business, however, often don’t ever think they need to do the same thing in their relationships. According to Maryland psychologist Dr. Tom Muha, in order to have a successful relationship, partners must acquire and hone three specific skills.

  1. Awareness. The first skill Muha refers to is awareness. When people are aware of what they are feeling, they can better express those feelings, wants, and desires to their partners. Similarly, by practicing awareness, partners also learn to identify, in turn, their partners’ needs, what makes them happy, and what their partners want from them. Rather than being spiteful and critical when your partner doesn’t meet your needs, Muha suggests thinking that perhaps your partner is merely unaware of what you need.
  2. Curiosity. It might have killed the cat, but curiosity, when applied productively, can actually be a good thing for relationships. Snooping in your partner’s email, checking text messages, or scouring their wallet are not productive displays of curiosity. However, asking your partner what makes them happy and what excites them are great ways to get your partner to open up. People don’t always know how to express their feelings. Prompting your partner with questions provides an opportunity for you to open up a dialogue about needs and desires.
  3. Assertiveness. So you’ve mastered awareness and curiosity. You’re armed with knowing what you want and having a pretty good idea of what your partner wants. Now you have to ask for it. In other words, don’t just hint that it might be nice to have a candlelit bubble bath someday. Ask your partner to sweep you off your feet and set up a romantic evening for the two of you. Ask your partner to compliment you once a day. Ask your partner if he or she would appreciate getting compliments from you.

Muha believes that everyone can learn how to master these three skills. He adds, “Long-lasting love involves partners being aware of what each other needs, and being committed to making sure both sides are getting most of those needs met.”

Muha, Tom. (2013). Achieving happiness: Be aware of your partner’s needs. Capital Gazette(n.d.): n. pag. Web.

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  • Lisa


    May 6th, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Good advice. So often I’ve thought I am not sure what I want myself and then tried guessing what my partner wants.It does not work.I do know I need to look for my own feelings first and then proceed to sharing with him.although I get the basic idea of the actual things to done this list provides a quick overview of what’s exactly to be done.will be very handy for those tough times when things are going wrong.

  • June R

    June R

    May 6th, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I agree, great article. I see a lot of people who want someont to be curious about them so that they can tell their story but they don’t really care all that much learn about others. That’s a real relationship killer right there.

  • Tait


    May 6th, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    I’ve had my fair share of relationships and honestly these things happen automatically at the beginning. but once a relationship gets comfortable it gets tougher and tougher. don’t know why but it has happened to my partners and me included to be honest. that sense of curiosity regarding your partner is lost quite easily in the later stages of the relationship.

  • natalie


    May 7th, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    How about having the ability to talk and communicate with each other? That seems like a pretty important one that is not necessarily mentioned.



    May 7th, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I had this girlfriend in high school who would say an okay to everything.Going out?I say to the park.She says okay.I say movie date.She says okay.Going out for an activity?I say let’s go watch a game.She says okay.I say lets just chill with music.She says okay.She literally had no input to offer.I guess she did not even know what she wanted herself.The relationship did not last long but I will never forget her for this same reason.

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