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Are you sure you know your Partner’s Intent?

If you want to be sure you understand your partner and to be sure you know your partner’s intent then learning how to listen to learn is vital. So often we create a meaning from what we hear that is far removed from the meaning the person intended.  We don’t question our understandings so can totally miss the intent of our partner.

A good start point is to commit to the belief that your partner’s intent is not to hurt you. The words may seem hurtful. Even the demeanour and tone of voice may seem harsh but rather than assume that they are intent on harm take a moment to become curious.  Perhaps they are feeling so hurt, scared or fearful that the words tumble out in their cry to be understood.

It is so easy to create a story for yourself that has no foundation of truth in an attempt to keep yourself safe from pain, that you miss the desire from your partner to put across their concern or dilemma.  Why should they suddenly be the expert in communication.  Like you they are only human.

Maybe saying how they feel is tough for them.  Maybe they learnt, years ago in childhood, that when they did express disagreement or unhappiness they were ignored or scolded.  You are not them so you can’t judge.  So seeking to find out and becoming curious and – if necessary – supportive will open up so many more possible outcomes than assuming you’ve understood their intent from your own perspective.

We all have different ways to expressing ourselves, and each of those ways are special and bring their own uniqueness to our relationship.  We can, at times, through frustration or plain bad habits, create bad ways of communicating that don’t serve us as they should.  Often this happens when we feel misunderstood or ignored.

So how do you know if you’ve really understood what your partner has said?

A first step is to repeat back to them what you believe you’ve learnt.  In a manner that shows and expresses your desire to understand. After all if you’ve taken the step to commit to believing their desire is not to hurt you then you can have the courage to learn, to let go of any desire to defend your view and to have the desire to see the situation as they see it.

This will give you new understandings and begin to create a secure place where both of you can feel free to express yourselves, secure in the knowledge that you will be heard and that you each want to learn and grow.

Learning how to do this and how to create a true and secure environment together is just one of the aspects of coaching that I cover in my couples’ coaching sessions.

Marriage Coaching