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Often in our relationships we struggle with communication. There are truly a vast amount of issues, troubles, and concerns in regards to communicating with our partners. In this short article, I am going to touch on just five of those. Instead of saying, “We just don’t communicate anymore,” we need to become aware what walls are standing in the midst of our communication. What is stopping us from talking to or hearing our partner? We mustn’t play the blame game either. When we take a real look at the walls – the blocks – in our communication we might be surprised. When we encounter these walls, we need to stop and be quiet. Take time to settle into our body, feel the ground beneath us. We may be able to recognize signals from our body such as, a tension in the shoulders or a heaviness in our stomach. Taking a few deep breaths and slowly releasing them can help us relax and connect to our inner selves. This deeper connection can offer some insight into the wall and/or what created the wall. I, also, ask that we remember that communicating is not just about talking. It includes a variety of ways to communicate. A recent article, 8 Ways We Communicate With our Partner, briefly explores some of those different ways. Recognizing the different ways may help us better understand our trouble spots too.
So, what are some of the issues we often encounter?
1. Not Enough – We simply feel like we don’t communicate enough anymore. Our partner doesn’t talk to us. We don’t spend time together. We just go through the motions – get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, put the kids to bed, go to sleep, and start over. Maybe there is a touch of who has to pick-up the kids from practice, what needs to be picked-up at the store, or maybe a “do you wanna do it?” Unfortunately, too many couples end up in this rut. Eventually, those couples come to a point where they feel like they don’t know each other anymore. We don’t want this to be us, and so often believe that will never actually happen to us. Yet, if we stop communicating, that is exactly what will happen in the end. We will grow apart, we will feel lonely, we will feel unloved. When we recognize that we are not communicating enough we need to stop in our tracks and shift gears!
2. Avoidance – Avoiding an issue that we have with our partner may be one reason we stop talking or communicating with him/her. Perhaps, he/she has done something that upset us. For whatever reason, we are uncomfortable talking about it; therefore, we say nothing and pull away instead. We retreat into ourselves. We build a wall around us as a way of defense. It feels better in the beginning to avoid the issue. Yet, what we don’t realize is that the avoidance only creates further issues. We aren’t learning from the problem if we ignore it hoping it will just go away. Let me share an analogy. There is a dog right outside your door. Every time you try to go out the door he snarls and bites at you. You aren’t sure why he is at your door. You don’t know what to do about it. So, you just try to ignore him by either staying inside or you try to just walk past him only to get bitten. If you stay inside, you will miss work and won’t be able to go out for groceries. Obviously, ignoring this issue and just trying to avoid it is not going to benefit you. Perhaps, in this short little analogy we can see that it is very important to face our issues and find out how we can move past them instead of trying to avoid them.
3. Interrupting – Do you interrupt your partner? Does he/she finish your sentences? Sometimes that can seem like a wonderful thing, but after a while it can become a challenge. It becomes difficult if our partner never lets us finish a sentence. We answer for each other. Maybe we interrupt our partner because we are bored with the conversation or perhaps we aren’t paying attention to begin with. Interrupting shows a lack of respect, a lack of interest, and maybe even a lack of trust. I remember many years ago being in an airport with a man I was dating. We were waiting to catch our next plane and decided to get a snack. As we stood in line I was unsure of what I wanted. When we reached the front of the line and he ordered I paused a moment and said something like, “Mmmm…I am not sure. I…” He interrupted me and told the cashier that was all we needed. Now, yes it is true there were a few people behind us, but he interrupted me and in this situation I found it to be quite rude. No matter when, where or why we interrupt each other we need to become aware of doing such, and then we need to stop and allow our partner to speak – fully – completing his/her thoughts. If we are too busy to listen at that moment, then we gently need to let our partner know that and make time later. Interrupting can create a severe gap in communication!
4. Misunderstanding – Sometimes we just don’t take our partner’s words or actions for what they really are. We read the text or email, we see our partner’s body language and we think he/she meant something totally different! Even when talking face-to-face we can misunderstand what our partner means. The words we choose, the tone of our voice, our body language – all of these things suggest things to our partners. We are all human – even though we are spiritual beings we are still in human form; therefore, we filter everything through our perceptions and our egos. Jumping to conclusions or instantly reacting may result in a break in our communication. It is important for us to remain open – ask if we are unsure and be prepared to recognize that we may have been mistaken.
5. The Need To Be Right – It is highly likely that we have all experienced moments when we just couldn’t seem to back down. We just knew we were right and wanted to prove it. Consequently, we would pick an argument or keep one going until we felt like we won or we had proven we were the winner. This need to be right makes communicating a competition at times. And, I don’t know about you, but I want to communicate with my partner on a deep level. I don’t want to have a loser and a winner. I don’t want to feel like I am competing. When we come to the realization that our need to be right is not as important as having open communication with our partner, we can take a step back. We can stop and say, “Okay. I don’t know that I agree with you here, but I really do appreciate seeing it from your perspective.” Being able to look at something from someone else’s point of view may not change our mind, but it can offer a wealth of information, new perspectives and opportunities for growth – even if we are still convinced that we are right.
There is so much more that can be shared about communication. Yet, I hope this brief article gave you a few ideas to chew on. Hopefully, these little snippets of information will open you to aspects of communicating with your partner you had not considered before.
Soon I will share with you about the importance of communication. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we overlook these things until someone else points them out.
Janelle Alex, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Inward Oasis. http://www.inwardoasis.com Globally Awakening Couples to Their Blended Spirit. Relationship is a spiritual path. Are you aware of yours?
Janelle is the co-author of Intimate Adventures: Sacred Ceremonies for Couples and Sexy Challenges. She is also co-hosts The Relationship Guides radio show on Blogtalkradio and iTunes.