Good communication between couples can be a challenge at the best of times, but becomes even more difficult when there is a hot issue. Often couples do not have a healthy process for airing disagreements.
If a partner brings up an issue about which there is some dissatisfaction, there are several scenarios that may unfold. The recipient may simply ignore the message. Naturally this creates frustration, and the issue goes unresolved. Now there is resentment added to the mix.
The recipient may launch an attack on the sender, ignoring the initial message, and getting on his or her own soapbox. This strategy could be called “ignore and deflect,” and is almost guaranteed to result in a fight—likely a replay of a fight the couple has had many times before.
Finally, with or without responding, the recipient may distance from the sender, perhaps even giving the “cold shoulder” for hours or days.
Naturally, none of these responses makes for healthy communication, or builds any trust or intimacy in the relationship. Actually, they prevent the relationship from moving forward, and can, over time, undermine the relationship altogether.
To keep it healthy, couples must first allow for differences, not taking their expression personally, or as criticism. Of course, it helps if the sender frames the message in a positive way. Next, they need to define the problem or request, for example, “wife wants more time with husband” (as opposed to, “all you care about is work/golf/your friends”). Finally, they need to work together to come up with a solution.
Communication is a powerful tool, and we need to asses whether our communication style makes things better, or worse.
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Related MP3s Available:
Communication in Relationships
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Trust and Fidelity