The meanings we put on what we hear

Is what you heard what they actually meant?

We base our meanings on our past experiences and events.

So how does this effect your relationship?

Well let me give you an example:

You say:  “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could afford to go on holiday more often”

To your surprise your partner takes this as a criticism on their inability to provide, or to earn more money, that they are a bad organiser, that they are a failure, or any other negative interpretation. When from your point-of-view you were just expressing a thought that it would be just that – nice!

But if your partner was constantly criticised in their early life, their childhood, adolescence or by a previous partner then they could, sub-consciously, be expecting criticism – so that’s what they’ll hear.

The confusion of meanings

Unless you’ve spent time really understanding your partner then you really have no clue what meaning your partner is going to give anything you say!  Equally they won’t know what meaning you are going to put on what they say or do.

My answer to this conundrum is – find out!

Find out by learning how your partner sees the world.  And this means no contradicting or criticising.  It’s their world, it’s how they see, hear and feel.

You may think at this point you’re poles apart.  The chances are you aren’t at all!  It doesn’t mean you’re incompatible – it just means you need to learn the best way to meet your partner’s needs in a way that brings a closer understanding of how they interpret life.

By doing this they will then be much more open to understanding you.

Now you have growth because you also have trust – trust that neither has the intention to hurt the other.