Communication is definitely the most important indicator of a strong relationship. Although a lot of people are great communicators, not all are good listeners. And active listening does not just mean being able to repeat what our partner has said. It means truly understanding the deeper meaning and see where they’re coming from, as well as acknowledging the core message they are trying to convey.
The basic principle of communication is that it takes place even if we are not talking. We cannot not communicate. And silence speaks much louder than words. Take body language for example- there is so much to learn and read from how people are sitting, moving or the way they place their hands or how tense their shoulders are. There is indirect and direct communication. Women are definitely better at hinting and finding hidden meanings where there are none- and men tend to be extremely direct when they express themselves and its best to take their words literally.
The differences between the masculine and feminine way of organising our thoughts and communicating are often responsible for misunderstandings in couples. But they are not the only reason why communication becomes toxic, passive or aggressive.
Let’s talk about the key communication killers, as defined by The Gottman Institute (The Gottman Institute 2020, accessed 9 July 2020, <https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/>) which are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. It is extremely important to avoid all of these as they inevitably predict the end of a relationship if used long enough.
“Babe, It would mean a lot to me if you could pop to the shop so I can finish cooking.”
Does the above sound unrealistic? Why? If it does, then perhaps it is just not the way you two talk- or it could be that you forgot how to be kind and respectful towards each other. What if we all assumed that our other half just wants what’s best for us? What if we took the time to sit back and appreciate where they’re coming from and observe what it is they are truly telling us?
Effective communication flows. It focuses on what is happening and is constructive rather than confrontational. We may challenge what the other one has said but should not question who they are based on something they have said or done as they may have had a valid reason for it.
When your talks spark joy, they make you happy. They inspire you. Fill you with confidence and gratitude. Make you laugh. Help you understand each other better. Teach you how to be resilient and function as a team. If you find yourselves talking over each other and every disagreement results in a bickering or conflict, perhaps it is time to take charge and let a coach explore your communication patterns and turn you into communication gurus.
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