Communication may be one of the most important makers or breakers of a healthy, long lasting relationship. So many serious relationships fall victim to poor communication. Tragically, they don’t even realize it as a problem and wind up breaking up for reasons that could have easily been resolved. Different couples have different styles of communication. It is just a matter of finding out what works best between you and your partner.
Communication is one of the most common issues I address as a relationship coach. So many clients come to me proclaiming their serious relationship is in jeopardy because of some catastrophic issue. After getting to know the couple and the dynamics of how they communicate, I often find quickly that there is either a lack of communication or the couple needs to refine how they have been communicating.
There are ineffective and effective ways of communication and there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate. Let’s have a look at some of both to demonstrate:
Ineffective Communication Styles
1. Not Listening.
“What? Listening isn’t communication?” Yes it is and it’s major. If you are only thinking of what you are angry at and what you are going to say next or find that opportunity to talk over your partner you have no chance of successfully connecting to meet a resolution.
2. Passive Aggressive.
This is one of the most common and sinister means of communicating with your partner. Its biggest threat here is leaving the other party wondering what he did. Passive aggressive communication is noticed, but is most often misinterpreted. It is completely ineffective in conveying precisely what is bothering you. Address the problem head on. Don’t hide behind what you think is a strategic way to address an issue.
3. Yelling, Screaming and Name-calling.
You need to maintain emotional control. If your emotions get the best of you, you will get nowhere fast. When we yell and scream, we only trigger the same reaction in our partners. And name-calling is just disrespectful. There is no place for it in any relationship ever. Beware of name-callers!
Once you’ve identified your poor communication points, you now have the awareness to change them. Once they change, you will see how your new method of communicating positively will impact your relationship. Changing it is not easy, but it’s about finding what works best for you. You should be practicing healthy communication skills in ALL of your relationships.
Here are some points to keep in mind not only in the way you communicate with your partner, but in your day to day life.
Effective and Healthy Communication Styles
1. Identify The Issue.
When you are ready to talk, make sure you are both on the same page about the problem you want to address. It is common for many couples to have polar opposite ideas of what is bothering the other person in the relationship. Align yourselves.
2. Listen Carefully.
Listening to your partner without focusing on yourself or ANYTHING else is critical. You cannot get an understanding of someone’s feelings if you don’t give them a fair chance to express themselves in the best way they can. Don’t interrupt. Don’t talk over. Just sit and listen, then you respond.
3. Put Yourself In Their Shoes.
Try to understand where your partner is coming from. What is their reasoning? What feelings have been hurt and why? Empathize with your partner and let their know that you understand. This will help the conversations that follow immensely.
4. Talk It Out.
Once both of you have expressed your concerns and have come to an understanding of what is bothering the other, use communication to come up with a solution TOGETHER. When you both understand an issue in the relationship and work as a team, not only will it resolve the issue, it will be of substantial help in any future issues.
5. Take Your Time. Don’t move faster than the situation will allow.
You will get a feel for the pace of your solution finding once you begin to open clear lines of communication. It may be something that you can do immediately or it may be a solution that will only work with hard work, time and dedication.
So don’t ignore the communication cornerstone. With some practice and patience, you will see how drastically things will change.