Today’s relationship tip: How to avoid seven common mistakes causing impaired communication between couples.
Good communication is the glue that keeps relationships together, making this a topic worth re-visiting. But what happens when couples can’t talk to each other and won’t listen? Conflict! Thus it is not surprising that couples with communication problems sometimes seek a therapist.
As a couples therapist, I’ve discovered that some people find it too hard to talk about sensitive subjects. They feel afraid, vulnerable, and insecure. They sense that their partners will criticize them and possibly even reject them.
So these individuals just don’t talk about anything close to their heart. Or they might try to show what they are feeling, but in a very indirect way that is hard to figure out. They become disengaged from their partner, hiding their needs inside. They may even seek out safer people with whom they can share their true thoughts. If their needs do not get met, they may feel depressed.
Conflict arises when couples communicate poorly. Do you see any of these seven common mistakes in your relationship?
· Not listening to what the other person is saying
· Formulating a response too quickly, without getting sufficient information
· Using words that the other person does not understand
· Showing a mad or bored tone, pitch, and facial expression
· Displaying unfriendly body language (such as the arms folded over the chest)
· Choosing poor timing for a serious discussion
· Not checking whether the other person understands the message
The happiest couples seem to be the ones who are emotionally open. Remember that vulnerability is necessary to have intimacy, so do not be afraid of being vulnerable with each other. Here’s how to not only express your feelings, but also to understand what your partner is feeling:
Choose an appropriate time to share, showing respect for each other
Clearly state your point or opinion, using “I” statements often
Use common words that your partner understands
Deliver the message in a loving way
Show warm and caring body language; hold hands
Be open to answer questions and define your terms if misunderstood
Allow your partner time to respond—and be patient for the answer
Being aware of these suggestions is the first step to better communication. If in doubt, ask your partner for help. Speak gently. If you feel you might speak in anger, take a break or request a time out, rather than say something that might later cause conflict. Communicating in person is like writing an email: once you hit the send button, it is done!
So make it worthwhile, sincere and authentic.