Relationship Tip; Why communication is the key. Here at the Relationship Centre, we often see that couples who come to us have lost the art of communication. Let’s face it, it’s hard to communicate with your partner when you feel hurt, angry and unloved. We have to introduce a way that will allow them to start talking with each other, rather than at each other.
We ask them to try the communication tool below. It’s not easy at first, but we find couples get better at using it, and then suddenly they feel they are listened too, and feel more connected. This is a powerful way of developing a relationship, even when you feel there are little wrong with it.
Talk Only When Calm.
This approach can only work when both of you feel emotionally calm. If you decide to talk and one of you starts to feel angry/frustrated/sad, then it’s important that you have an agreement that if one of you feels this way, you take a ‘time-out.’
This should ideally be 30 to 60 minutes, or maybe you need the rest of the day, but you go away and do something that calms and soothes you, and then it’s important that you re-visit the conversation again (within 24 hours ideally) and re-visit as many times as you need to complete the conversation while you’re both feeling calm.
Step 1. Talk about your feelings. Use the word “I” rather than “you” and, your partner won’t feel attacked, criticised or blamed.
For example; “I’m feeling sad and angry……”
Step 2. Talk about the situation that has caused your feelings, again avoiding any blame towards your partner.
For example; “I’m feeling sad and angry because I thought you were arranging a night out, and I was looking forward to you doing it”
Step 3. Tell your partner what you need.
For example; “I’m feeling sad and angry because I thought you were arranging a night out, and not going out is the thing that’s made me feel this way. What I need is for you to understand my feelings and arrange a night out tomorrow?”
Rather than a harsh, critical statement, such as; “typical, I knew you would forget and not arrange anything, you’re useless, you make me so angry, you never think of me!”
The other partner needs to listen, without defending, or getting ready to have their say, but to summarise and validate with their response:
“I can appreciate that you’re angry, and I’m sorry that I forgot. I can hear that it’s important to you, and I will book a night out for tomorrow instead”
This can take practice, but the more you try the better you get!