Blog #12 Communication Tips
Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Communication is both verbal and nonverbal. The more powerful of the two is often the nonverbal communication between couples. When there is a breakdown in communication, the foundation of the relationship is at risk. One of the main things my couples present with in couple’s counseling is the inability to effectively communicate with each other. Communication is not simply about talking. Effective communication skills are necessary to have productive and loving conversations with each other. Have you ever found yourself having the same argument with your partner over and over and over and over again? If so, then you can benefit from brushing up on your communication skills.
Most of us never learned effective communication skills growing up. And no, we cannot blame our parents for this as they were most likely not taught effective communication skills either.
What we can do is recognize unhealthy patterns in our ineffective communication skills and take the initiative to improve them for ourselves. It will also benefit our children as we can now become healthy role models in regards to productive and respectful communication.
Below are a few tips to get you off to a good start.
1. Don’t make assumptions
One thing many people fall into the trap of is thinking that your partner thinks like you do. That trap can lead you into making assumptions as to what your partner “meant”. The way to prevent that is to ask for clarification and rephrase what you believe you heard in a respectful tome of voice.
When I have my couples do this in my office, almost all of time they realize that they were making incorrect assumptions. Once they received the clarification, they were able to avoid an argument and continue with their discussion.
Do your best to see things from your partner’s perceptive. A wise man once said, “Perception is reality.” This could not be truer. Don’t focus on who is right or wrong. Focus on trying to understand your partner. Once your partner feels understood, he/she will know you care and can reciprocate easier and usually is able to feel more calm.
3. Don’t take things personally
In the book called ‘The Four Agreements’, the author stresses the importance of not taking things personally. People react based on their own beliefs about the world which are often different from your beliefs and experiences. It is important to understand this. Usually, their reaction has nothing to do with you. It is due to the agreements they have made with themselves and the stories they have told themselves about the world. Understanding this concept can free you from future heartache and disappointments. This can be a little difficult to understand but believe me, once you do; everything changes for the better for you.
It has been said that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. We are not learning anything when we are talking. We learn things when we are listening. Learning how our partner sees things will benefit the relationship. When we take the time to truly listen to our partner, not only do we make our partner feel special and loved, but we are able to hear how they perceive things. Your goal is to understand your partner as opposed to planning your “counterattack” for when you speak next.
These skills are just the tip of the iceberg to improve your communication.
Call me, let’s chat.
Laurie Shoats LMFT
Blog #12 Communication Tips