"We need better communication skills because we are not communicating?"
How often do you hear couples saying that? That is one of the most common issues that couples or my friends complain about in their relationships. I have also heard the following phrases too,
- “We don’t communicate like we used to.”
- “He/she doesn’t listen to me.”
- “We hardly talk to each other anymore.”
Are Couples Really Not Communicating with Each Other?
I often encourage my clients and people I meet in my life to ponder on the question, what is communication? Is no talking not a form of communication? Is your partner not sending a message to you when he/she stays quiet, use less words, moves their body in certain ways, or simply looks at you?
In my personal and professional experience, couples are constantly communicating with each other. Everything they do or don't do is telling their partners something about what goes on with them and how the relationship is doing. The issue is not that they are not communicating. Couples are always communicating. And sometimes they might be communicating too much. As a result, the relationship suffers.
The issue is not "we are not communicating." The issue is that they are not getting the communication that they want. They are not communicating in a way with which they are more familiar and comfortable. They are not hearing the words that work for them or seeing the actions that they desire. That in turn creates the belief, “we are not communicating anymore.”
What is "Better Communication Skills"?
We all need better communication skills, but it's more than just using the right words and the right ones. Better communication skills start with ourselves. In order for you and your partner to really "have better communication skills," both of you need to have the skills to manage your emotions like frustration, disappointment, and anger when you don't hear what you want to hear.
So next time, when you feel like you and your partner are not communicating anymore, ask yourself, “are we really not communicating?” I highly encourage you to use that moment as a magnifying glass to take a closer look in yourself and your relationship. Rather than saying "we are not communicating," see if you could ask yourself, "how have I contributed to the dynamic, and what can I do differently?". Maybe you could learn something new about yourself and your significant other.
Do you have any questions or comments? Please let me know.
I would love help you have more productive communication with Denver Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy.
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