Read these 14 Communication Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Marriage tips and hundreds of other topics.
Guess what? Relationship failure is not because our sex lives aren't good or we are having marital problems. The number one reason for marital and relationship failure is...how couples solve problems. Think about this for a minute. How you solve any problem impacts how you feel about your partner. If you aren't able to solve a problem (I don't care what the problem is) you will disconnect in your relationship. When you disconnect, you will feel negative about the relationship. The consequence? Bad sex or no sex. Money problems because you spend money to deal with your bad marriage.
When couples try to read the mind of their partner they generally guess wrong. This is especially true in couples who argue a lot. The individual who tries reading the mind of their partner often assume they know what their partner is feeling and thinking. These assumptions are often in error and create more problems. Individuals who expect their spouse to read their mind are asking for trouble and playing an unfair game.
Dr. John Gottman in his research on marriages has found that emotional interaction in marriage can predict divorce or marital stability. Gottman tested couples discussing both positive and negative conversations and found that "in the conflict discussion, the predictors that led to divorce were husband interest, husband contempt/disgust, wife interest, and wife sadness." This suggests that interest in our spouse is very important. Also, when husbands communicate with contempt or disgust and women communicate with sadness these couples have more problems.
Below is a list of ten communication approaches that can destroy an intimate relationship.
1) Avoid sharing feelings
2) Assume you know what your partner wants and thinks
3) Only talk about the weather and daily events
4) Use the silent treatment
5) Assume any issue will disappear over time
6) Blame your partner for any problem
7) Avoid sharing positive feelings
8) During an argument, bring up past issues
9) Share all of your negative feelings
10)Avoid talking about your relationship
One way to show appreciation to your spouse is to take time and list 5 things that they do that you really appreciate. Here is my list of 5 things that I am grateful to my wife for.
1) She works hard to be a great spouse.
2) She is patient with our children.
3) She has a happy disposition.
4) She makes sacrifices to make our family work.
5) She gives of her time unselfishly.
What does your spouse do that you really appreciate? Make your list and give it to him/her for Thanksgiving, your anniversary, or another special day in your lives. One way to change our marriages is to show more appreciation to each other.
When we communicate we need to discuss what we really want to happen in the relationship. We need to communicate what we are feeling and thinking. Many individuals falsely believe that their spouse should just know what they want. This leads to marital problems. Never assume your spouse knows what you want. Couples who enjoy real intimacy communicate openly and honestly what they need.
Have you ever been in a big argument with your spouse and later realized that you said things that you didn't really mean? Or even worse when they came back to apologize you rejected their apology? I often ask individuals and couples who describe this pattern to evaluate what they really wanted to say to their spouse. I believe that if we can learn to communicate what we are really feeling and thinking we will increase the intimacy in our relationships. Next time you are in this situation sit back and evaluate what you really want to tell your spouse, rather than spouting off or rejecting your spouses apology.
The Chinese have a proverb that goes something like this, "A word unsaid, can save a life of regret." At times when we are upset at our spouse we often want to hurt them because we feel hurt. In these situations, I teach my clients to stop and analyze what they are feeling and thinking before they say something that they will later regret. This isn't easy, but it can save a marriage. It can save lots of pain. In order to do this it takes self control and a desire to break old patterns. It can be done as one begins to understand themself and their emotions.
Virginia Satir, a pioneer in the field of marriage and family therapy, used the term leveling to describe the process of saying to the best of your ability, what you think, what you mean, and how your feel. Leveling in relationships is what can increase intimacy and bring you closer to your spouse.
Many therapists use the "Zap Rule" in therapy with couples. So what is a "Zap?" A zap is anything that makes you feel as if you're not being treated as an equal, or with dignity and respect, or as if you are being blamed, punished, or ridiculed. The rule requires that when either member of a couple is feeling zapped they can stop the conversation and ask that the last statement "a percieved zap" be restated by the person who made the comment. This requires that both partners be willing to respect their partners feelings.