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Effective Relationship Communication by Yvonne Sinclair M.A.
Easy Marriage Counseling Communication Help
Communication in a marriage is the key to relationship success. If we can communicate our needs and feelings and wishes effectively we are on the road to a happy healthy marriage. Our “relationship” can be as a married couple, committed couple, couple of friends, employer or employee, parent or child. Good communication will make your life much easier.
Changing a behavior is not easy. We have communicated in a certain way since birth. Changing that method of behavior may take concentration and time. The change could mean we become more effective in letting others know our needs and feelings.
Sometimes we learn behaviors in childhood, especially if we have had a difficult childhood, that help us to survive the childhood. We can acknowledge for ourselves the behaviors worked for us in childhood but are now getting in the way of relationship success.
Adopting a new way of communication can be tedious. If you went to the dentist and the dentist told you that the way you have brushed your teeth for years and years was all wrong. You are told “don’t brush up and down…..brush down down down on the top and up up up on the bottom.” Changing that method will mean you need to slow down and concentrate. At first the new behavior seems strange and difficult. After you practice for a while the new method becomes more and more familiar and soon it is as automatic as the old way.
If we learn to communicate in an effective way any issue can be resolved. This does not mean the resolution will be positive. It may mean when we resolve our issue it is revealed we are not happy with the relationship and need to move on.
If the communication is effective the chance of working through issues and making the relationship work is much higher. Sometimes couples come to see me for couples counseling and they have been having routine disagreements and arguments. Once they slow down and listen they begin to realize they are on the same page. They learn the concept of “different” not right and wrong. Couples communication is important for them to understand each other and create a happy marriage or relationship. Increasing your communication skills the foundation for successful marriage counseling.
If one of you has to be “right” and one “wrong” you are setting yourself up for failure. Think about agreeing to disagree. Think about allowing the other person a difference. Think about slowing down and really listening to your partner’s words and feelings. The formula for communication in this chapter will help you with that new behavior.
Communication is the key to letting others know how we feel and what are our needs.
We listen and talk through our “life filters”. Life filters are ways we learn to speak, listen, express anger, and other communication methods.
Here is a little story to help you understand “life filters”. John grew up in Sweden. When he graduated from college he moved to NY to work. He was there about six months before he became really really home sick.
One morning he was riding the subway to work when a blond woman got on the same car. He was struck with the beauty of her blondness and it increased his being home sick….Oh he did miss Sweden and all the Swedish blondness.
As they stepped off the car they were next to each other and John turned to Kate and said, “you have beautiful hair.” Now Kate grew up in the Broncs and when someone mentioned her hair it was to indicate they thought she was an “air head blond person.”
Kate could have given John a wicked eye and stomped off to work telling her co-workers about the “jerk” on the subway. John would then have really wanted to go home and talked to his co-workers about the rude woman he had complemented on the way to work.
But….this is my story….so here is how it goes.
Kate turns to John and says (this is reflective listening-a clue for you later) “What you think I am an airhead?” John was a little shocked and said “NO, I think your hair is beautiful and it makes me lonely for my home, Sweden.”
Well Kate and John had lunch…and got married and lived happily ever after…..Yeah!!
There is so much between lunch and happily ever after. It would be like a story that goes like this. Once upon a time there was a man with a pile of sticks. He built a house. It was a good house.
Lots of work between the pile of sticks and the house….just like there is a lot of work and paying attention between the lunch and happily ever after.
Marriage and any Relationship takes time and energy and feeding and nurturing. They are a living breathing entity. You can have wonderful, just okay, cold nothingness, or abusive. You choose.
First person-person “A”;
I Feel_______________________________(emotional feeling)
See attached “feelings cheat sheet”
And I want___________________________
(Keep it short and to the point. This identifies for you what feeling comes up when something happens, why they come up and your own needs.)
Second person-Person” B”;
What I hear you say is_______________________________
(This is “reflective listening” you state back the jest of what you heard or the emotion you heard. Keep it short). Then if that is not what A meant for you to hear, person A will say No and repeat the statement trying to change it in a way that person A’s meaning can be heard better.
We talk and listen through our life filters. What one person says and intends to be heard may be totally different than the receiver hears. So the reflective listening confirms if the message was heard in the way the speaker intended.
Good luck with your practice. Thanks for reading and have fun with this marriage counseling tool. Put it in your toolbox and take it out often. If left in the toolbox nothing changes. Yvonne Sinclair M.A.
©Copyright 2011 by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., MFCC. All Rights Reserved. All material is owned and protected. Reproduction without the express written consent of the author is forbidden.