Check out my excerpt from the e-book 5 ways to fix the #1 issue in every relationship by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke. It is a good read, brief and apt. You should get a copy!
“Communication isn’t just a factor in how well your relationship is doing, it is the factor. Bad communication creates a bad relationship. Good communication creates a good relationship.”
- Be Proportional
A lot of times what will happen is something small will happen that hurt our feelings or upset us, and in our mind we go “oh that’s no big deal. I need to get over it.” But if gone unsaid, that starts to add up and then later creates a very much disproportional response that makes
Instead, we have committed to saying in the little things, “hey that little comment hurt me.”
Or “Not a huge deal, but I just wanted to let you know, that I feel overlooked today.”
Or “when I asked you to do something, it means a lot when you do, especially after a long day taking care of the kids.” However you may say it, make it proportional.
- Never Say Never
There is a healthy way to disagree and communicate. And there is an unhealthy way to disagree and communicate. One of the sure ways to be part of the latter, is to default to “you” sentences instead of “I feel” sentences, or “never” statements instead of “sometimes” statements.
And when any statement has a “you” in it (especially with an always or never) the other person feels attacked (and it also heightens the chances of saying something about them that is
hurtful or untrue).
- Be Proactive
Be proactive about our communication, not reactive. Being proactive means you are being honest, sharing things, asking for help, etc before a problem happens or arises. Being reactive means, you wait until you’ve been hurt or a frustration is pent up to then respond and that usually means you respond in a wrong way or unhelpful way.
- Take Breaks
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Call for a break or a reset. Set rules and boundaries for how you communicate. Agree to take breaks if things start escalating.
Compromise on some stuff and be sensitive to what that might be for each other, because “bending is better than breaking”. Forget how you feel and your preferences. Serve your significant other. Service is contagious and creates a beautiful cycle. And usually it starts with compromising.