Communication in a Relationship
30th March, 2010
The ability to communicate well with your spouse, partner or lover plays a very important role in laying the foundation for a good, healthy and lasting relationship. However, most relationships and marriages suffer from lack of proper conversation skills and breakdowns in the talk department, which can result in misunderstandings, problems and even divorce. here are a few tips that may help.
1.Stay Focussed: One of the most important things to remember is to stay focussed, do not let your mind get into the turmoil of the oncoming argument directed your way. Staying focussed on the fact that if you participate, then things will be twice as bad in the end. Not only do you have one person throwing words around like darts but once you step in and add your contribution this will intensify the problem.
2.Listen Carefully: Listening carefully is a valuable asset in the true art of conversation. It's no wonder that renowned Greek author Diogenes wrote: "We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less". Ironically, although hearing and listening carry the same connotation, listening involves much, much more. Listening involves more than just hearing spoken words. It entails close, active, and apt attention toward the speaker and what is being said. Cultivating such an art-form is truly vital for a bevy of reasons.
3.Try To See Their Point of View: Put yourself in your partner's shoes. Listen carefully while your partner is talking. Maintain eye contact, nod when appropriate and ask questions when you are confused. Try to understand accurately what your partner is saying, then repeat what you think your partner said. For example, "It sounds like...," "So what you're saying is...," "If I heard you right...."
4.Respond to Criticism with Empathy: First of all, let go of your need to be right or perfect. Put yourself in their shoes: what is beneath the verbal attack, criticism or whatever the issue they are perseverating on? Reading between the lines will better prepare you for dealing with the criticism and for the way in which you respond.
5.Own What’s Yours: Assume Personal Responsibility
Have I done all I can do to resolve this conflict?
Have I looked for solutions?
Am I willing to compromise?
To let it go?
If the conflict can't be resolved, am I willing to live with it or walk away?
6.Use “I” Messages: Usually when people argue, accusations and blame fly around, which turns out to be detrimental to reaching a resolution. The purpose of "I" messages is to take the focus off the other person and the act and focus on how it made you feel. For example, instead of blaming the other person by saying "You betrayed me," a more constructive way is to say "I feel betrayed."
7.Look for Compromise Instead of trying to ‘win’ the argument, Here are two ways to compromise: 1) Find the middle ground. Take the “average” between your differences and meet each other half way. 2) Alternate. You compromise this time, your partner
compromises next time. If you do choose the second way, remember that it should be “balanced” over time. Even if one side is pushier than the other, both parties should make just about the
same amount of compromises over time. If one party constantly gives in, there’ll be a power imbalance, which will lead to a loss of romantic respect and eventually a loss of attraction.
8.Take a Time-Out: As silly or childish as this might seem on the surface, it works. A time-out can help provide enough of a window to decrease the physiological reaction that often comes with high levels of anger (think "fight or flight") so that the person (or both people) can calm down enough to think rationally and clearly.
9.Don’t Give Up: Don’t grow weary. Readjust your expectations and know that it’s ok. Maybe you “can’t do this anymore” today, but regroup. Take a deep breath, face the issue yet again and remember that it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your relationship because you are arguing about the same thing for the 547th time.
10.Ask For Help If You Need It: If one or both of you has trouble staying respectful during conflict, or if you’ve tried resolving conflict with your partner on your own and the situation just doesn’t seem to be improving, you might benefit from a few sessions with a therapist. Couples counselling or family therapy can provide help with altercations and teach skills to resolve future conflict. If your partner doesn’t want to go, you can still often benefit from going alone.
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