Most of the couples that I see on a daily basis come in marriage and couple therapy complaining that they struggle to communicate effectively with each other. They explain to me how their partner constantly misunderstands them and how they feel lonely in their relationship. Virginia Satir, who is famously known as the mother of family therapy says that “communication is to relationships what breath is to life.” Satir also points out that in relationships the problem is not the problem, the problem is how individuals deal with the problem. In other words, it’s the reaction of each partner that is the problem.
Below are some tips to have better communication with your partner:
1. Different is normal
It is important for the couple to realize that the universe is based on variety and difference and it’s normal that they have different opinions. However, these differences should not lead to indifference. Those differences should be considered as an opportunity for growth in the relationship.
2. Equals in Value
As a couple, it is important to understand that you are equals in value. You might be required to play different roles or have different responsibilities but, in the end, you are both worthy and your opinions and views matter.
3. One Team
It is detrimental for couples to realize that the quality of their marriage is measured by the quality of their communication. Furthermore, the effectiveness of their communication is measured by the results each one gets. In order for couples to have a win-win situation, they each need to give up the need to be right and act as one team.
4. Emotional Connection
Communication is about emotional connection and fulfilling your partner’s needs while expressing your own needs in a way that will make your partner want to fulfill them. In other words, it has to be a win-win situation.
5. Function from a Place of Love
Always assume that your partner is trying the best that they can with the knowledge, choices and skills that they have. When you consider that they are functioning from a place of love and that there is a positive intention behind their behavior, you will communicate in a softer, more loving manner. In other words, separate the behavior from the person you love.
6. 2% Truth
Consider that there might be a 2% truth in what your partner is telling you even if it sounds to you like blame or criticism. When you put the 2% possibility in your interactions this makes you more willing to hear and understand your partner.
7. Flexibility and Friendship
Couples who communicate effectively usually share two common characteristics. They are flexible with each other and they prioritize happiness and friendship over being right and winning an argument.
8. The myth of Mind Reading
Most communication problems happen because one partner assumes that the other should know their expectations, needs and feelings without having to express them. This is a common myth. No one can read our minds no matter how long they’ve been with us or known us.
9. Active Listening
Most couples don’t really listen to each other with the intention to understand. They listen with the intention to reply and defend themselves. This causes misunderstanding to happen. Therefore, it is important to listen with the intention to be curious and understand.
You each have the right to have your own thoughts and feelings. If you want to have effective communication, it is extremely essential that you validate and empathize with your partner. This does not mean you have to agree with what they are saying, it just means that you accept that these are his or her views and that they matter to you.
Finally, I would like to point out that our partner is a human being that has his or her own personal thoughts, values, struggles, challenges and pains. So, it is important to have compassion for one another. It is also essential that each one of us is in touch with our own feelings, thoughts, expectations and yearnings and express it in a soft, vulnerable way instead of a critical, aggressive way. Always choose love and make your partner feel that they are your number one priority.
On a final note, I am proud to state that I am the first and only ICEEFT certified EFT therapist in the United Arab Emirates and one of the leading pioneers of EFT in the Middle East region. I am also the only one fully based and practicing in the Arab world. Online counseling is really impactful so if you feel like speaking to a Marriage Counselor and do couples therapy at the convenience of your home please contact me on email@example.com or WhatsApp me on +971502369395.