Have you both taken responsibility for how you communicate?

Time and time again I am told by couples who come to me for help that they don’t talk any more, and by that they actually mean they may talk but they are not reaching each other – they don’t communicate.  One or both of them tells me they feel at a loss on how to be understood.  Some tell me they don’t even feel heard by their partner.

Communication is a complex field

This may come as a big surprise to you.  Communication can be a minefield of misunderstanding.  Why?

Well to start with men and women communicate very differently.  It could be said that they are frequently speaking a different language.  The words may sound familiar but the meaning behind those words – the underlying request – can be very different.

Add to this the way we have each, individually, learnt how to speak to others when we want to be heard and understood and the problems exacerbate.

Let me give you a possible situation to consider:

If someone grows up in a family where there is a great deal of shouting then to be heard he or she may have adopted the same style of communication.  Conversely if a child learns that speaking quietly when making a request results in success then this is more likely to be their communication style as an adult.

Communication Styles

There can be mixes of many styles and also feelings attached  – both negative and positive  – to how people communicate with you.

Some communication styles can be so misunderstood by the recipient that it can send them into a fight or flight response.  In these cases he or she can close down and withdraw to avoid what to them feels like conflict – which in turn can leave the other person frustrated and resentful.

Now add to the mix the fact that men and women have different underlying requests and communication styles and the possibilities of being misunderstood can be massive.

Learning how to communicate better is just one skill

This is one of the many skills I teach couples in my sessions.  It many cases it may not be the first thing we work on.

Couples have to feel safe to communicate their needs.  If you don’t feel safe then it can be difficult to communicate what you truly want to say.

Relationships don’t fail for one reason – they fail for a mix of many reasons.  However understanding the underlying request when they communicate is a valuable skill and helps remove defensive or contemptuous behaviours.

Don’t leave it until it is too late – find out now how to communicate better and build a strong, connected relationship