Manage episode 237745496 series 2466605
Brian Mayer takes another look at communication. This episode might be helpful for those of you who have a more direct communication style or were brought up in a home where everybody spoke their mind and no one seemed to care who they offended. Well now that you are in another relationship, let’s talk about whether or not this is productive. We hope you enjoy today’s message. For more information and additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- Ever heard of the phrase, “would you rather be right or be married?” All too often we don’t really think too much about this before we let our comments fly.
- Often people will respond to this by saying, “well this is just the way I am” or “my partner is just too sensitive” or “I don’t have time for all this dancing around, I just need to get to the answer”
- This may have worked in your childhood, this may have even worked in a past relationship, it often works well at work because we get paid to spot problems and to solve them. In a relationship not everything is a problem that needs to be solved.
- Ever heard of the cliché, “when you hold a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail?” In other words when you view everything through the lens of a problem/solution framework, then you urgently must get things solved.
- The problem with this mentality is that this usually slows the process down. Why is this? This happens because our partner presents us with something that is bothering them and they are simply looking for emotional connection and not presenting a problem to be solved.
- In fact sometimes attempting to solve the problem too quickly actually causes the problem to deepen.
- So should we force our opinion when we believe it is true and must be said? Often the argument around this issue is whether or not the issue itself is true, this is the wrong argument.
- Encourage the two of you to stop arguing over whether something is true or not and simply hear the emotions that are being present. And work to connect with the emotions you are hearing.
- Sometimes though this is more difficult because we often hear anger or frustration instead of what underlies that is usually fear or something similar.
- So let’s talk about some ways that you can stay away from saying something even if you believe it to be true.
- Get curious. Again as stated earlier, listen for the emotions in your partner and look to connect to them.
- Ask questions to gain clarity on the emotions and not on the “events.”
- Show empathy. Empathy is simply connecting with the feelings in your partner that you have inside of yourself. So if you hear fear or loneliness think about a time where you felt this way and then express that connection to your partner.
- Explore when you are triggered. A trigger is something inside of you that gets poked when your partner says something to you. Ask yourself, “why is this so triggering and bothersome?” What sore spot is this getting to?
- Rather than saying something to tear your partner down, how about saying it in a different way. I once had a male client say that he believed there was nothing wrong with calling his partner “fat” because he said it was true. Now we could have argued over whether or not that was true, but honestly that is a subjective argument. Instead, we talked about the appropriateness and also the negative feedback loop that this would generate.
- Use humor when appropriate. This one is tricky because if you use it at the wrong time or too often then it can backfire and you partner may believe that you aren’t really there for them. But used appropriately can be extremely powerful.
- This episode is back to basics and really can apply to your relationship whether or not you are in a subsequent marriage after divorce. But it is probably more important to us who have been in marriages that have not worked out so that we can begin to work on the patterns that may have gotten us in trouble in the first place.
Communication comes up over and over again as an issue that we all could continue to work on. So don’t get up but keep working and take off the problem solving glasses and put on the emotion seeking glasses and your relationship will be better for it for sure.