Improve your communication and improve your relationship
Very often when couple come to see me with a difficult or breaking relationship it is fairly soon clear that they have lost the ability to really communicate with each other. Communication (to state the obvious) is a two way process and requires us to talk and to listen. It also requires us to think and hear. Before we can really talk about what we think or feel we have to be clear in our own minds what it is. Often we feel irritated, annoyed or upset and are not entirely clear why. The person who tends to get the resulting behaviour to deal with is often the person closest to us - our partner. If we can understand what our problem is we can be much clearer about explaining it.
I often hear couples say they feel hurt, left out or taken for granted. When we explore this we often find both partners feel the same and are so busy feeling it and trying to get the other to notice it, that there is no capacity left for either to take in what the other is saying. Sometimes the only place where it has been possible for a couple to hear each other's hurt has been in the consulting room.
It comes as a shock to know that your partner feels as isolated and alone as you do. It can also provide the starting point for effective communication about what is going on for each partner and an opportunity to start to deal with some of the (often long-held) resentments and hurts that have become embedded in the relationship. A wall has been built up between the couple which has prevented them hearing each other or being able to explain their point of view. Sometimes people need to use the therapy room as a safe place to start the process of unpicking some of these issues (dismantling the wall between them) and start to remember the positive ways in which communication between them used to work and how being within a couple relationship can improve each individual's capacity to deal with issues and solve problems.
There is no doubt that improving communication improves your relationship - and not everyone needs therapy to do it. Taking the time and trouble to think about what you feel and why you might be feeling it, talking calmly and honestly to try to explain yourself and listening to your partner's feelings and concerns in return can pay dividends in developing your communication skills and bringing you closer together.
- Make time for communication
- Think first
- Talk calmly and clearly
- Listen and really try to understand