So, You Want to Communicate Effectively?
It is vital to understand how and when to communicate topics of great importance as a couple. Many relationships break down when couples attempt to “fix” an issue during the height of frustration. There is nothing more mature than the ability to step away from the situation and return to a discussion when cooler heads can prevail. This must be accomplished respectfully.
What does that mean?
Requesting permission to step away and come back at a designated time and place. It may sound ridiculous as though you are a prisoner of the disagreement. The truth is you are being controlled by the problem if you continue to stay and fight when no resolution is gained in the moment. A couple can control the conversation with simply saying “Can we take a break and come back to this at (designated time)”. They empower themselves with the opportunity to think more clearly, problem solve effectively and likely communicate with out anger dripping from their words. How do you communicate when you return?
The person who requested the break speaks first. They state why the break was needed and what they hope to clarify in the new conversation (without interruption). Listen to understand and not to respond. No response is provided from the partner beyond expressing, in their own words, what they heard their mate say. If their speaker says "you got it right", you may respond in an effort to clarify the assumptions made or apologize for the error. Then listening and expressing is reciprocated. No one should monopolize the conversation. Thus, each person can only speak for 2 minutes at a time.
When will the problem be solved?
Now, it will be resolved when the couple decides to work wholeheartedly at the relationship. Talking to one another is just the beginning. At the end of 15 minutes of discussion, make a list of 5 ways the challenge can be eliminated or modified to mutual satisfaction. Then settle on one and work, work, work on it. It will not be easy and requires commitment, time and sacrifice. It will be worth the effort.
For those challenges that are exceedingly deep rooted in anger or the communication process has been ineffective for years, it will take therapy and mediation to begin the rebuilding process.
Take the time to work on your relationships, so you can build a healthy future together!