We’ve all heard that communication is the key to all strong relationships. Ineffective and problematic communication techniques often lead to resentment, anger and disengagement. Within a marriage, good communication skills can make all the difference in regards to the ability to establish bonds, build trust and establish a higher level of mutual respect and understanding. Many couples often find themselves in a vicious cycle of feeling misunderstood and under appreciated while engaging in the same negative communication tactics that led them to the negative place that they are in within their marriage. Marriage counselors often see the same couples engaging in damaging communication techniques that are sure to create distance and resentment between even the most dedicated and loving couples. The most common communication pitfalls that most couples engage in include:
- The need to win – By making sure that you win every argument by building a case against your spouse, you risk losing everything between you. Resist the desire to bring up past examples of wrong-doing and putting your spouse in a defensive position. Don’t use words like “always” and “never” to attack and deflate your partner in an attempt to prove yourself to be right.
- Yelling – When arguments get heated, it’s easy to let the passion get to you, creating the desire to yell out of frustration. Try to remember that yelling and screaming will only heighten that tension and anger; never diffusing it. Keep your emotions in check and remain calm. Resist the desire to walk away as this often leads to others feeling even less heard than they had before, igniting more anger. Try to speak in terms of how you feel, not how your partner made you feel or what they did that was wrong. Speak face to face and try to resist the desire to blame.
- Forgetting your partner – Remember, you vowed to go through this together. Though it’s perfectly natural for us to think of ourselves first, as we only know our internal processes and personal perspective. Take some time to consider your spouse’s viewpoint during everyday conversations and the less frequent arguments.