I’ve spent a great deal of time working with couples who are having a hard time communicating within their relationship. One of the first questions I ask them is”Was it always hard to speak to each other”? The answer is almost always no. However, over time, the inability to connect through verbal communication has faded. It is interesting to note, that I see this more in couples that are younger than 40. I believe this to be true because this demographic grew up with a mobile device attached to their hips and hands, and never really had to rely on basic interpersonal skills. And there are 3 areas that commonly cause problems for us as we try to communicate.
The first problem area is courtesy. While this may be true at any age, the art of courtesy is lacking with the 40 and younger crowd (please know that I am not making a generalization. I simply see it more with those couples).
I have written about this extensively. When engaged in mindful conversation with our spouse, we do not answer text, emails or take calls. I know I’m guilty of this from time to time. But both my wife and I are very good at communicating our needs when having these conversations. Just the other night as we were driving down to the water, I started to discuss our upcoming financial responsibilities. In a matter of seconds, she asked if we could please not talk about that now. That the point of visiting the water was supposed to enjoy the sunset and wildlife. In a matter of moments, that conversation ceased, and we were able to enjoy our evening talking about more meaningful things.
By showing her respect and honoring her wishes, we could connect to one another and source. She stated her request. She was not rude about it. I didn’t take offense to it. We had a beautiful evening. Politeness paved the way.
The second area that brings couples do my doorway is their fighting. When two or more are gathered together, there’ll eventually be misunderstanding and conflict. However, if you”fight fair”, it may be a door that leads to greater intimacy. Let me try and simplify this. See the above section on courtesy and politeness. It’s so important that when a tricky conversation begins, be fully present and invest in the process.
I’ve had couples when in the midst of a heated discussion take calls, turn of the TV set and some other thing they could do to prevent intimacy. Because that what this really boils down to. Being vulnerable and resistant to change. There are many tools out there that could help facilitate an argument. It would be helpful to research a few, and have them easily available (and agreed upon) before a fight. It’s a lot better to be proactive than reactive in such situations.
The last thing I want to mention is the”I am sorry” area. So many people have outgrown an apology. We either don’t say it. Or, we don’t mean it. You know the old saying that the best apology is changed behavior. But even before we get to that point, it begins from those words rolling off of our lips. I am sorry. You can be sorry that someone misunderstood what you said. The important this is state it. Give clarifications. Make adjustments. Be open. Be vulnerable and proceed. It’s quite the simple procedure.
If you follow these 3 steps, you should be well on your way to a greater level of communication and intimacy in your relationship. When you’re polite, you will usually be met with kindness in return. For those who have tools that are agreeable to the both of you prior to a heated conversation, you likely diminished the intensity by at least a third. And it’s okay to say I’m sorry and be exposed. If we remain closed off, the best we can expect is a connection of little progress and superficial communication. And if you’re still reading this. I am guessing you need to Learn more from your connection.