It’s easy to communicate right? We have been doing it since infancy. However, once you bring your spouse or partner into the equation things get complicated. Why is it difficult to communicate to a loved one?
Communication in a marriage or partnership is a whole other game. Marriage/partnership is life, life is messy, and so marriage/partnership can be messy. When in a committed relationship, people have to be willing to take the good with the bad, and there will be times when things are rough.
Marriage Shouldn't be a Pressure Cooker
In a lot of relationships, one person (or both people) let things pile up until there is so much pressure that something has to give. Often the person or people do not address things as they come up in an effort to keep the peace. However, there can be an explosion later which is pretty unpleasant. It is a better idea to address issues as they come up.
Why Work on Communication?
The idea of communication is not to tell the other person how wrong they are, or convince them that you are right. Communication is to express to your spouse and partner how you are feeling, what’s happening, if there is a problem, listen to your spouse express his/her feelings and concerns, and really hear them. It is fairly common to have one spouse feeling one way and the other spouse being completely unaware of what is happening- effective communication alleviates this.
Effective communication does not mean, accusing, name calling, judging, or screaming. Even if things are emotionally charged it is possible to have meaningful effective communication and resolve the issue.
How to Improve Communication with Your Loved One
If either party is having intense emotions, let the dust settle, if possible. In particularly challenging situations, a neutral third party can help. Here are some communication tips to dialing down the pressure and steam in your relationship:
- Use “I feel” statements. This reminds the person talking to own their feelings and responses without attacking the other person.
- Let yourself be vulnerable. This one is hard, it requires a lot of trust and it can be very hard if there is a trust issue.
- Validate each other. Different people have different perceptions of things. If one person in the relationship is really hurt, and the other person is not the unhurt person needs to acknowledge the feelings of the hurt person.
- Hear each other. It is easy to get locked in to one position. To help prevent that- rephrase what the other person is saying- and repeat it: “If I am correct, I am hearing you say xyz, is that accurate?” Allow for clarification.
- Don’t fight to win.
- Establish a plan. Sometimes there is a clear path, sometimes it is not as easy.
If communication was easy we wouldn’t have so many misunderstandings. We can learn and grow as people and as communicators, which can improve so much about life.