Do you feel like your partner isn't listening to you, or that your communication is falling on deaf ears? You're not alone. Many couples feel unheard in their relationships. Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of tension, stress and disconnection. The good news is, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your partner is hearing and understanding your words. In this blog post, I'll be sharing five tips for successful communication with your partner, so you can both be heard and feel closer to one another.
1) Avoid "You" Statements
When communicating with your partner, it can be tempting to point out their faults or mistakes. However, statements that start with "you" often put the other person on the defensive and can lead to feelings of resentment or guilt. Instead of starting with "you", use phrases like "I feel" or "I believe".
This allows you to express your own feelings without placing blame on the other person.
For example, rather than saying "You always forget to take out the trash", try something like "I feel frustrated when I'm left with extra tasks because the trash wasn't taken out." This opens up a conversation that is focused on problem-solving instead of finger-pointing. It also avoids creating an atmosphere of hostility and encourages collaboration between you and your partner.
By focusing on how you feel, rather than what the other person did wrong, you can create a safe environment for honest dialogue. This approach helps you to feel heard and understood, which can go a long way in helping to build trust and connection in your relationship.
2) Explain How You Feel Without Blame
When communicating with your partner, it's important to avoid placing blame. If you feel like your partner is not understanding or validating your feelings, it can be tempting to accuse them of not listening or not caring. However, this can only lead to further tension and disconnection.
Instead, practice describing the situation without placing blame or making any accusations.
Explain how you feel and what your needs are in a neutral and factual way. Try using "I feel" statements to express your emotions rather than accusing your partner of anything.
For example, instead of saying "You don't care about my feelings", you could say "I feel like my feelings aren't being taken into account". This statement does not place blame or accusation on your partner, and allows for an open dialogue where both of your points of view can be heard.
In short, when communicating with your partner, take care to express yourself in a way that does not accuse or blame them.
Describe how you feel and what your needs are in a neutral and factual way using "I feel" statements. Doing so can help reduce tension and create a space where both of you can be heard.
3) Describe the Problem as You See It
It can be easy to jump straight to a solution when talking with your partner about an issue. However, this often leaves the underlying problem unresolved and can lead to further misunderstanding and tension. Instead, try to focus on simply describing the problem as you see it.
Try to be as specific as possible, such as “when you arrived home late last night I felt really anxious and lonely”. This can help your partner understand where you’re coming from without immediately accusing them of anything. It can also help move the conversation forward to an understanding and resolution, rather than a blaming and shaming match. By being clear about what the issue is and how it affects you, your partner has a better chance of empathizing with you and responding in a positive way.
4) Find Curiosity + Don't Assume the Problem
When communication starts to break down, it can be easy to jump to conclusions about the other person's motivations or intentions. But jumping to conclusions can get in the way of connecting with your partner and actually understanding their point of view. Instead, find curiosity and try to see the problem from their perspective. Ask questions to better understand why your partner is feeling or acting the way they are. This will help create a space for honest, open dialogue and help avoid assumptions that might further distance you from each other.
This isn't about justifying any wrong behavior, but rather creating an environment of understanding where both partners can be heard. Make sure to communicate that you are listening and not just waiting to give your rebuttal. Ask questions that focus on how they feel, rather than trying to prove that they are wrong. A little bit of curiosity can go a long way in terms of increasing connection and deepening understanding between partners.
5) Offer Benefit of the Doubt
The final suggestion for successful communication is to offer benefit of the doubt. Instead of assuming the worst, give your partner the benefit of the doubt and approach the conversation with compassion and empathy. When you assume the best of your partner, it can help create a safe space to communicate openly and allow both partners to be vulnerable. This can also help decrease feelings of tension and help foster a stronger connection between you and your partner.
When engaging in a difficult conversation, try to remind yourself that your partner's intentions are likely good and that their actions were probably not intended to hurt you. This can help you come from a more understanding place and can allow you to focus on finding a solution to the issue together instead of engaging in a blame game.
Offering your partner the benefit of the doubt doesn’t mean that you have to accept bad behavior. You should still hold your partner accountable and discuss any issues that need to be addressed in order to build trust and maintain a healthy relationship. However, this is different than jumping to conclusions or having a preconceived notion that your partner has ulterior motives. Keeping an open mind can help foster understanding and better communication.
Overall, offering your partner the benefit of the doubt can help you create a safer environment for communication and can lead to healthier conversations. In addition, it can help decrease any feelings of tension and increase your connection as a couple.
Couples Counseling in Denver at Connected Brain Counseling
At Connected Brain Counseling, we provide couples counseling in Denver to help you and your partner connect on a deeper level and improve communication. We understand that it can be difficult to find a therapist who is the right fit for you, so we make sure to take the time to get to know you and your relationship.
Our approach to couples counseling in Denver is rooted in the understanding that the relationship itself is a living system. This means that the problems you experience are not just the individual problems of each partner but the problem of the couple itself. We focus on building skills and strategies to help both partners understand each other’s feelings and perspectives better, while also creating an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance.
We also focus on creating new patterns of communication within the relationship by helping each partner learn how to express their feelings and needs without blame or criticism. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive environment in which each partner feels comfortable sharing and discussing difficult issues without fear of judgement or criticism.
At Connected Brain Counseling, our therapists are compassionate and non-judgmental. We believe in taking the time to understand your unique needs and situation in order to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your goals. We offer flexible scheduling options, including online counseling and in-person sessions, depending on your needs.
If you’re looking for couples counseling in Denver, contact Connected Brain Counseling today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss how we can help you and your partner create a stronger connection and better communication. Learn more about couples counseling in Denver here.