Do you interrupt your partner, talk over each other, tune your spouse out? Do you have topics that are off limits? Do you walk away feeling like you talked, but your spouse didn’t hear you? What happens during a conversation and what patterns do you notice?
Could you imagine what your conversations would look like if you both took to the time to listen, to really listen?
When someone calls me inquiring about my services, I ask a few questions as I want to hear why they are calling so I can see if we would be a good fit for each other. Are they calling about a problem that I can help with? If it is a relationship issue, I can help. One of the common relationship issues that I hear are… “We are struggling with communication. We can’t talk to each other. He/she never listens, I do not feel like my spouse understands me or even knows who I am anymore”. If you feel this way, you are not alone as that is the #1 complaint that I hear.
Communication is a challenge because we do not listen to understand. Instead we listen to reply, to defend. That is when the struggle begins. Communication looks different when we listen to hear our spouse’s perspective. When this happens, we drive connection. Why? This happens because when you are feeling heard, understood and validated, your conversation looks and sounds different. The result is a feeling of connection with your spouse.
Couples communicate best when…
- each spouse feels safe
- you both feel that you will not be judged and can just express your thoughts
- you won’t be told you are wrong, made to feel guilty or even punished
- you believe that you will be heard and understood
- you know that whatever you say, will not be something used later against you in a future argument
- you know that your spouse will not withdraw from you
- you know that there is trust to speak with complete confidentiality
- you know that when you talk even if that includes a different point of view, it won’t escalate into an eruptive fight
- you know that your spouse will not respond defensively
- you both know that after the conversation, you will feel heard, understood and validated
How do you make this happen? Stop listening with your own agenda, stop listening to defend what you did or didn’t do. Start listening to your spouse’s feelings with an empathic, listening ear. When this happens you will effectively communicate, you can have conversations on a deeper level. There will be more opportunities to share your vulnerabilities and the result will be that you are both driving connection into your marriage. Another benefit is that as emotional connection is restored into the marriage it helps with the desire to be intimate thus also bringing back physical connection into the relationship.
Try some of these tips and if you need more, call me. As Your Relationship Expert, I will help generate a deeper understanding between you and your spouse. I will take you on a path that breaks the negative pattern of communication and bring you on one of increased respect, affection and closeness. Don’t stay stuck in an ineffective way of communicating. Let’s work together so you and your spouse can break free of the roadblocks hindering your communication.
Your Relationship Expert,
P.S. If you would like more tips on communicating with your spouse check out my Six Secrets of Communication.