The compatibility of a couple and the quality of a relationship lies in the way they handle their arguments and differences.Nishan Panwar
Five Communications Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes
In preparation of my upcoming Couples Training on February 24th, I did a Google search for “couples communication” where I discovered an article with an attractive title: Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes. After scanning the five mistakes and noting that couples trained in Compassionate Communication would likely not be included in the “almost every couple” category, I decided to write about fixes to the mistakes.
Five Fixes to Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes
Mistake #1: “Assuming That More Communication Is the Solution.” Sometimes, even when the hole is going nowhere, we keep digging.
The Fix: Explore new tools to bring higher quality communication into the relationships. Only by challenging ourselves to try new ways of communication can we break out of the dysfunctional patterns that keep our relationships from working.
Mistake #2: “Expecting Your Partner to Read Your Mind.” The only sure path to not getting a need met is not to express it. When we don’t value our needs or when we are unaware of them, we may resort to wishing that others can read our minds which sets us up for disappointment.
The Fix: Stick out your neck (like the giraffe) and express your needs. Once you begin acknowledging that your needs are important and sharing them with others, you’ll find that others find joy in meeting them.
Mistake #3: “Giving in and Not Really Saying What You Want or Think.” I’ve worked with a number of people who have chosen to hold back their truth for fear that they will “hurt” their partner. Just as vulnerability invites vulnerability, withholding invites withholding and leads to decreased trust.
The Fix: To free yourself to speak your truth, realize that you cannot make another person feel anything because their needs determine their emotions not your actions.
Mistake #4: “Harping on (Possibly Hopeless) Issues.” This mistake is closely related to #1. Whenever we continue trying to address an issue that the other person doesn’t want to address or seems hopeless, we may threaten the relationship.
The Fix: Use breaks and “timeouts” generously.Breaks and “timeouts” are key. If things aren’t moving, talk a walk, a run, or do whatever clears your mind. When you are both clear, try again.
Mistake #5: “Not Considering Things from the Other Person’s Point of View.” This is a very big mistake. To connect with another person, it’s important to allow them to feel heard and understood. Too often, we get stuck on our own “rightness” which blocks our ability to listen to the other person’s perspective.
The Fix: EMPATHY! In Compassionate Communication, empathy is a special kind of listening. It asks the listener to focus their attention on what’s happening in the other person (i.e. the needs motivating their behavior). Empathic listening allows us not only understand the other’s point of view, it helps the other person get clear on their point of view. It is a path to healing and understanding!