“Communication is the lifeline of relationships.
The health of any relationship is determined by the quality of the conversations between or among the people involved.” S. DeKoven Ph.D
Like the heart in the human body, I believe that communication in relationships connect all the vital elements and sustains the life of relationships.
If you don’t talk and share your feelings, thoughts, ideas etc, unfortunately we were not born mind readers so we won’t know what the other is thinking. Then if we don’t know, how can we react properly.
Anyway, here are the 5 steps I promised.
Step #1 – Start With Desire
Yeah, I know, you’re thinking “Conrad, I already know what you’re gonna say!” so, I’ll say it anyhow.
You will never improve your communication skills or the way you share with your partner if you don’t begin with the desire to improve it. For example: If your car is dirty and you are comfortable with how it looks and don’t think it needs cleaning, then regardless of what anyone says or how they feel about it, you probably won’t do anything to change it.
So, if you are going to ever change or improve the way you talk and share in your relationships, then you must want to improve. Without that desire, nothing else will matter.
Step #2 – Learn To Listen
Do you know how most people listen to each other, especially couples.
Well, they often sit while the other person is talking waiting for a space to jump into the conversation to defend their actions, explain themselves, or explode in anger. Sometimes the problems that arise in relationships is caused by couples that rarely listen to each other.
You should listen actively and emphatically to what your partner is trying to express to you.
What is she/he saying by his/her facial expressions, body language, etc. What type of feelings about this subject is he/she trying to convey, Learn to listen to more that just his/her words since we all can’t often express what we’re really trying to say in words alone.
Step #3 – Don’t Assume
We often assume that we understand what our partner is trying to say and our assumptions can be dead wrong. What’s worse is when we don’t understand and won’t ask for clarification but leave the conversation assuming that we know what was said.
Let’s look at another example: Mary knocks on James’ door and he opens it wearing a colorful t-shirt so she says “Wow, that’s an interesting shirt you’re wearing.” Now James assumes mary doesn’t like his shirt and angrily snaps back “I don’t need your opinion or approval on what I wear.”
Mary sees where this is going and quickly says, “I’m sorry James, I didn’t mean you shirt was ugly, what I meant was that it’s a design I’ve never seen before and thought it was unique. I only wanted to know where I could get one like it.”
Now, see how easily we could get into a fight by assuming we understand what we thought we heard, So,don’t assume. Let the speaker clafify what they said if you didn’t understand.
Step #4 – Study Words
No, I don’t mean go out and buy a dictionary or hop on over to “Dictionary.com” to study, I meant the words your partner uses to explain or relate his/her feelings to you. You’re in this relationship with him/her right,, so invest some time learning what he/she means when they say certain things.
Remember, the same words can mean different things to different people so it’s important that you understand what different words mean to your partner.
For example: A man might say “we’re in a casual relationship” and mean I’m not committed to you but just checking my options for a stable partner; To a woman that same thing might mean, we’re seeing each other and are committed but are not ready for marriage as yet.
So, this is your partner, take the time to study what he/she means by saying certain things for this will make your sharing experience much more pleasant.
Step #5 – Response Patterns
What the hell are you talking about,,,
Hold on, just keep your shirt on, I’ll explain.
You see it is known that our basic coping patterns is that when certain situations arise we either fight or run; it is known as the fight or flight pattern. Well, there are some subjects that trigger these same reactions in your partner for any number of reason, so, you should be aware of these triggers.
Sometimes in sharing you might bring up topics or feelings that scare your partner and put them into a flight situation where they close-up and evade sharing or it might be something that touches a painful memory and out them into a defensive mode, you need to learn how to either carefully back off or gently probe for answers.
Anyway, learning how your partner responds to certain things while communicating with them will not only cause them to become more comfortable sharing with you, but may also open close door in your relationship.