Couples that communicate well
affirm one another by showing each other respect and appreciation. They
give each other a lot of compliments. They understand and accept one
another. These couples feel respected, valued and important to each other.
Couples who listen and respond with empathy say that they feel a high degree of
mutual support and understanding from each other.
Communication is important in
all areas of life but especially in a personal relationship. To be a good
communicator you must first become a better listener. Listening for
understanding is the real key to good communications. Seek first to
understand the other person and then to be understood. What does this
mean? It means you look at things from your partner's point of view -
standing in their shoes and putting aside your own agenda while trying to
identify with the thoughts and feelings of your partner.
How do you become a better
listener? Listed below are some techniques that will help you improve your
Restating what you think you
heard is a good way to show your partner that you have really listened to them.
When there is a natural pause in the conversation then you report briefly on
what you heard by paraphrasing in your own words.
Clearing the way by asking
questions is also a good technique for practicing good listening. Ask for
clarification on anything your partner might have said that you don't quite
understand. Ask questions. Asking you partner to explain their
feelings helps draw your partner out and helps them to be more open. Keep
the conversation going until it is clear you have understood your partner.
Good feedback gives your
partner a chance to explain if there are any misunderstanding. It allows
your partner to know you are really hearing them. Feedback needs to be
given to your partner right away, and should be done in an honest and supportive
manor. It should never be attacking or demeaning in any way. If you
want to give good feedback then ask the following questions of your partner:
"I heard you say...Is that correct?" or "Are you saying that ...?" or "I'm
not sure I understand what you are saying would you please explain further?"
Learn to listen with empathy, openness
and awareness. Be aware of the body language and tone of voice that your
partner is using. If you sense a discrepancy in what is being said to what
you see then ask your partner to clear the way for you.
What we say and how we say it can be music to our
love. Positive communication is a strong builder of relationships while, in our
opinion, the number one destroyer of a relationship is criticism. Criticism
according to Webster’s is the act of making judgments; the act of finding fault;
censuring; disapproval. We already get way too much criticism. We receive
criticism from parents, family members, employers, coworkers, advertisers and
the media, etc. All criticism has one thing in common, it is usually not
believe a couples relationship is
the one area that should be
safe and free from criticism.
We need to choose our words carefully. The words we choose
can and do hurt ourselves as well as others. How we say things really
matters, especially in an intimate relationship. Rephrasing statements by using
"I" or "we" instead of "you" helps in removing blame and can
invite and open up positive communications with our partners if phrased in a
non-threatening way. "You" statements are demanding, critical,
controlling and can create defensiveness. "I" statements are
self-revealing and invite understanding. Some examples follow:
Criticism: You never listen to me!
Rephrased: I would like to spend some time together to
better understand each other.
Criticism: You never do anything to help
around the house.
Rephrased: How might we share the chores so that neither
of us feels overburdened?
Criticism: You never tell me you love
Rephrased: I love you and I feel so good when I hear you
say the words "I love you." Could you say them more often?
Criticism: You never make love to me or
show me any affection.
Rephrased: I hope you feel as good as I do when we are
affectionate. In what ways might we share that more often?
In order for a relationship to be ideal and lasting each
person must be RESPECTFUL towards the other.
Respectful according to Websters means: to feel or
show honor or esteem for; hold in high regard; to consider or treat with deference or
dutiful regard. We recommend that you put the following words to action:
- praise, practice,
T - truth,
F - faithfulness,
L - listen, learn,
When you practice giving positive
affirmations to your partner you continue to build their self-esteem as well as
your own. If you make a mistake and say something that hurts your partner
apologize as soon as possible. A sincere apology goes along way.
We want you to express your feelings and concerns with
your mate and your relationship. Instead of criticizing and attacking your mate's
character try using a NAME statement to express your concerns
in a more positive way.
When you are critical of others it is a sign of low
self-esteem. If you felt good about yourself you wouldn't have any need or desire to
find fault with others. Check out our articles on Self-esteem.
recommended reading list for couples
For more ideas on relationship communication
purchase the book
Talk to Me.
We now offer it as an
E-Book! Get it today!