Updated: Jul 26
When people are told that they need to communicate more, they often think that that is an open invitation to talk, but there is a complete difference between talking and communicating. Communicating is the art of combining the ability to express your opinions and feelings in such a way as to ensure that the person or people you are talking to understand what you are trying to say with the ability to listen and understand another person's point of view.
Over the years, it's incredible the number of times people are provided with information that, if they acted upon, could alter a relationship, career, or the success of a business. But, because of the sheer lack of people's ability to listen to and think through another person's point of view, unique opportunities pass them by. Relationships are no different from the work environment other than there are, usually, just two of you. Often, what could be a marriage made in heaven is destroyed by the sheer inability to communicate. The most successful relationships, be it business or personnel, are those whereby both parties have strong verbal and listening skills. Many relationship problems begin with poor communication. Couples often feel that their partner should know what they are thinking and how they feel, so they do not communicate and then wonder why they feel neglected and undervalued.
How many people decide not to tell their partner something just because they don't know how to say it, and then the problem eats away at the relationship until no relationship is left? What a waste, just the sheer ability to share a situation can make what seemed to be an impossible issue a tiny little blip on an immense horizon. So whenever you feel stressed or don't know what to do, don't just bottle it up; talk about it, seek advice and listen to the answer. Don't keep quiet when you know a problem has to be aired in your heart and don't put off until tomorrow what has to be sorted out today. Tomorrow never comes!!
It is how you say something that will ruin a relationship, not what you have to say. The wrong way is to blurt out something that you know will aggravate or distress your partner. The last thing you want is for them to get defensive, storm off, or burst into floods of tears. You want the person you are trying to communicate with to be open and wise, and your timing and approach must be correct to achieve this.
Every individual is different. What will work with one person won't necessarily work with another, and with some people, all you can do is sow the seed and then let them walk away and work it out for themselves.
Given people's individuality, you need to learn the right approach for you and your partner. Make sure you never start a discussion if you don't have time to finish it, don't insist on a debate when one of you is off to work, dealing with the kids, or just relaxing in front of their favorite TV program. If the timing never seems right, ask when it would be a good time for us to sit down and talk? Whatever you do, do not let yourself appear agitated either in what you say or how you say it. Body language can just as quickly put your partner on the defensive as you say to them. Even if your partner is vying for a fight, don't react. Remember, the first golden rule, approaching defensive with defensive is a sure way to failure.
One of the key ways to improve communication is to develop strong listening skills. Couples often fail to listen to what their partner has to say, interrupt and give the impression that no matter what is said, they won't change their mind. Repeating what you have heard is one trick to ensure that you have listened and understood. It will demonstrate that you have heard what was said, and by repeating it back, you have the opportunity to comprehend and understand. How often do we try to work through a problem, and it's only at the point we are explaining the issue to someone else that the magic light bulb switches on, enabling us to come up with the answer. If you take an exam, would you expect to know everything just by being told it once? For most people, I would say not. We have to work at it and work at it hard.
No one ever said marriage would be easy. It's just another lesson we have to learn as we experience life, but if you want to save your marriage and make it even more special than it was before, there is very little to stop you. Relationship problems can lay heavy on your mind, become a burden, and what was a minor issue can develop into an insurmountable mountain.
If you begin to feel that marital issues are starting to weigh heavily on your mind, take a break and do something you enjoy, preferably with your partner. If you can refocus your attention on the better things in life, day-to-day issues always seem much smaller. Spending a little time together and enjoying each other's company could enable you and your partner to recapture some of the feelings that have been lost through constant arguing and help you regain a positive perspective on your relationship.
Are you having trouble communicating? Do you need extra tips and ideas to express your thoughts and feelings better? Here at Lewis Life Coach, we can definitely help you out. Schedule a free consultation here.