Practical and gentle communication can eliminate many problems, shortcomings and conflicts in any relationship, but especially in a couple’s relationship, which involves intimacy, security and support. Why we talk so much about communication is certainly not easy. Here are a few ideas and rules for effective and constructive communication between couples.
Communicating as a couple
I am setting the goal of empathic communication.
Although many of us tend, when the other person complains about a problem, to look for a solution that will save them from worry or sadness, this is not what we look for when we tell someone about a problem or unpleasant situation for us.
The reality is that we are not primarily looking for solutions at that moment but support and empathy. Our role as partners is not to immediately offer the other person a solution (which could also create the feeling that we are trivialising their problem) but to support them actively. The fact that someone listens to them understands them, and is close to them can often be what we are looking for.
Active listening and empathy
Active listening means making the other person feel heard. Being present in front of him is not enough, but small gestures betray your involvement and empathy.
For example, looking your partner in the eye, asking a few questions to understand more clearly what happened, and expressing understanding of their emotions make the other person feel that they are talking to someone, that they are understood and accepted.
Avoid criticism, and focus on teamwork.
Under, even if wrong, it’s better to team up with your partner.
For example, if he talks about being scolded at work for a mistake, maybe we should not focus on that mistake which he also realised anyway, but rather on how he felt when he was scolded.
We are on his side, even in situations when the black ball is in his jar.
Clarify the message received
If it’s not a “venting” discussion but rather a situation where one partner is drawing the other’s attention to something, clarifying the message becomes especially important both to avoid an argument and to resolve the issue.
Communication such as “Help me understand the part about…”, “Here’s what I understand and please help me if I’m wrong…”, “I want to tell you how the situation looks and from my angle…” etc. are gentle formulations that help both partners to clarify the dispute and their solutions.
Don’t interrupt the interlocutor.
Perhaps this is one of the first rules of communication that we learn as children and often hear, “be patient, please, I’m talking to someone”. Even so, we become adults and run into the same problem of saying what we think at an inopportune moment.
Not interrupting someone when talking seems easy, but sometimes it’s not. Especially when we too have had our bad day, when we too have our stresses, our tensions, and the situation of listening to the other person can become a challenge.
And this hypostasis is not uncommon when you consider that both partners arrive at relatively close times in the evening at home, face to face, after a day that has been… as it were.
Ideally, it would help if you listened to each other, communicated in the same language, and did not neglect each other’s needs for a single day.