The majority of the couples that want to improve their relationship identify that communication is an issue for them. They share how they can’t see eye-to-eye, convey their feelings and perspective, or understand each other. They report they end up fighting every time they try to address something not being able to resolve disagreements or being delayed in making decisions because they can’t get on the same page with their partner.
The lack of communication means struggling day in and day out in their relationship. Some partners choose to go it alone when making decisions or addressing needs to avoid disagreements and disappointment. Partners that avoid conflict end up having a very distant and lonely relationship. On the other hand, partners that are not avoidant are at risk of escalating disagreements that threaten their emotional, and even their physical, safety or the relationship itself. Either way, this lack of skill is detrimental to their well-being, their relationship and their quality of life.
The goal of good communication is to show your partner you “get them” so you can connect, get on the same page and smoothly go about running your life. This includes three key elements:
Reflection – Show your partner you hear what they are saying by repeating what you hear without interpreting the meaning, reading between the lines, assigning motivation, or adding your own perspective or information to it.
Validation – Show your partner you understand their perspective and how their experience makes sense giving who they are.
Empathy – Show your partner you understand their feelings, their emotional state around their perspective.
Note, that within the relationship one partner tends to be the distancer (aka, the underfunctioner) and the other the pursuer (aka, the overfunctioner) even though the relationship itself picked up a pattern or theme (avoidant or conflictual). Regardless of the relationship theme, it is important that each partner stretches their own style to reduce the polarization that maintains the status quo. Identify your style below and implement the approach described to address what you contribute to the patterns that are keeping you stuck.
Distancer (passive) – Take a Risk. Make a commitment to mindfully share your thoughts, preferences, and wishes. Express yourself in a non-threatening or challenging way. Share your internal world (remember, your partner does not need to know everything, but do open up!). Share developments, actions and decisions made in the recent past. Share dreams, goals, and plans. Share from a place of sharing and having a voice, not from a place of rebelling or punishing…
Pursuer (aggressive) – Take it Easy. Make a commitment to give it a rest and to give your partner a break. Learn when to stop before things go to far. Invite your partner into discussions instead of blindsiding them. Prepare yourself for your chat so you are grounded and patient, less reactive. Learn to wait until you’ve calmed down to address things that bother you, or to resume a discussion that went array. Address your needs by speaking about yourself, not about your partner, and not to control, manipulate or convince…
Therefore to crack the communication and connection impasse immediately, approach your partner by Taking a Risk or Taking it Easy depending on your identified needed stretch, and by responding to them using the Three Key Communication Elements. Be magnificent this way! When you stick to these parameters miraculous things happen in your relationship. Implement this without reservation. Make a full commitment to making this your default setting in your relating. Take a no excuses approach to making this your new way of being in your relationship. When you are magnificent, your relationship is magnificent!
Happy Getting Each Other!
~ Your MetroRelationship ™ Assignment
Choose a weekly time slot with your partner where you each get to responsibly, positively, mindfully, and lovingly open up about your experiences with each other in the relationship, and in your individual worlds.
Make this is safe and enjoyable appointment. Discuss the rules of engagement when you choose the time, and add a special touch to make this a positive relationship ritual: take turns bringing a treat, set up the space with nice ambiance, choose a relaxing regular spot, etc.
Gift your relationship with special dedicated time each week!
Copyright (c) 2016 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.