Ok…first of all, to be clear, this is not a scientific study. But rather a query that I took to some of my close colleague-friends in the field of couples therapy. I asked, “What is the one thing that you hear most from the couples in your office?”
“We don't know how to communicate.”
Not surprisingly, the same sentence that I hear and have heard in my practice for years.
Here is some straight talk: Most couples totally know how to communicate. But what they tend to communicate is what is wrong with their partner. Remember, you are always communicating. You can't NOT communicate when you are with your partner.
Most of us can perfectly communicate our level of disdain for our partner?s excessive joke-telling at a party with a glance and tight jaw. We beautifully communicate our hurt at being turned down for sex, again, by flapping the bed sheets as we huffily turn our back to the offending party.
It is not that we don't know how to communicate but that what we often communicate is hurtful and ultimately does not lead to the emotionally, spiritually, and physically rich relationship that we so desire.
Begin by looking at what you are communicating with your partner. Patience? Disdain? Anger? Hurt? Love? (likely all of these and more)
Next look at how you communicate these feelings and emotions. With words? Facial expressions? Being close in proximity to your partner? Pulling away and being distant?
This is the starting place of your relationship map. You Are Here Now.
Where do you want to go from here? Look at where you like your relationship to be. That is your destination. With gentle awareness, begin paying close attention to how you are traveling from the You Are Here Now place on your map to your destination.
5 tips to reach your destination:
1) Most of us can benefit from learning how to be more honest and vulnerable about our own feelings in our communicating with our partners.
2) Trying sticking to simple statements like: “I feel hurt when…” or “I felt scared when…”.
3) Remember that statements like, “I feel like you never listen to me” are not feeling statements at all but blame that you stuck the words “I feel” in front of. This is a surefire way to start an argument.
4) Be gentle with yourself and your partner. You are exercising a new muscle in communicating differently…be patient, kind, and compassionate as much as possible.
5) Laughter always makes a road trip more fun. As you travel to your destination, let your heart be light and humor be abundant in your relationship!