Learning to communicate effectively is essential for a satisfying marriage/relationship
You fell in love, got married or moved in together, and then everything changed. You are not sure what went wrong but you feel increasingly frustrated and misunderstood. You have tried to talk to your partner, but both of you quickly spiral into a defensive or attacking stance escalating into a nasty fight. You end up withdrawing emotionally, thinking that no matter what you do, you end up hurt and disappointed. Perhaps you are contemplating throwing in the towel. You feel desperate, wondering if this is the beginning of the end.
Do not despair; I am going to let you in on the essentials of effective communication
Photo by Shawn Rossie
The most important element of effective communication, which you need to be aware of before you sit down together, is to choose a style of communicating which ensures that your partner is hearing you out.
The how of communicating effectively
It matters how you choose to present the problem. Consider the difference between starting out blaming your partner for how you feel and starting out stating your main concern and respectfully explain how you think and feel.
- When you blame and finger point, your partner will most likely become defensive or attack you back, and will not be able to hear your message.
- On the other hand, if you follow the directions below, you will see a different result.
- Are you willing to let your partner in on how it is to be in your shoes? In addition, are you willing to learn more about how it is to be your partner, and what his/hers concerns are? If you answer yes to these questions, you are well on your way to a more satisfying relationship.
The seven little know secrets to effective couple’s communication
- You need to choose the best time and place possible for you to sit down together. Do not talk about important issues at a party where you have been drinking or when you are very upset.
- Address one topic at the time. Do not talk about everything you are unhappy about. Make a list of your main concerns and address one at the time. Do not go through the whole list at your first sitting.
- Be specific and stick to your chosen main concern. Do not use words like always and never.
- Stay in the present and address issues that you currently have. Do not throw in old stuff unless your chosen topic is a prior event.
- Hear each other out before you talk. Do not interrupt your partner. Remember you want to hear your partner’s perspective.
- Make sure you fully understand your partner’s perspective by recapping and asking clarifying questions. Do not change the topic or ask questions with an agenda. Keep an open mind and ask your partner if your recap was accurate. If not, ask more questions and let your partner know that you want to understand. Be curious and willing to learn something new about your partner.
- It is okay to feel sad, scared or disappointed by what your partner is saying. Those are your feelings. Stay calm and remind yourself that you still want to hear what your partner has to say. If you need to, take a short break to calm yourself. It might help to remember that this is about your partner and not about you. Think about why you are having this talk and what you want to accomplish!
P.S.: Your partner is more likely to hear your message when you communicate in an open and honest way without blaming or finger pointing. Take responsibility for your own feelings and actions. Stay calm and be willing to learn more about your partner’s and your own perspective. Remember that you are two different people with two different perspectives on the same issue. Be respectful and considerate and the chance of your partner treating you with respect and consideration will increase!
Scroll down to end of post to leave a comment! I am curious about how your talk went or what your concerns are about communicating in an honest and respectful way. I cherish comments and answer all questions! Your email address is safe with me. I could not dream about sharing it with anybody. Choose a fictive name if you do not feel comfortable sharing your name.
Sincerely Irene Savarese
Wishing you the best – this is not about luck, rather about you holding your end of the relationship and doing your best!