To help save your relationship we have created 7 communication tips for couples. These tips have proven to be successful in opening up the lines of communication to save any relationship or marriage if used properly. Getting stuck in an unending loop of arguments can be detrimental for any couple. The loop it creates can breakdown communication between partners completely, which can jeopardize the future of the relationship. The source of most of your disagreements is simply a lack of communication.
If you really want to save your marriage or relationship, you will need to step out of the ineffective communication loop that arguments can create. Use the 7 communication tips for couples below to help build a stronger relationship, but first, let’s analyze why such arguments are so bad for your relationship.
The Problem with Unresolved Arguments
The awareness of any situation in the marriage can be far from reality if you give in constant arguments. Since there is no objective measure for communication in a relationship or marriage, it can be impossible to find out what really happened. It can begin to take a huge amount of emotional work and energy to argue against someone else’s perspective of what happened.
It is common for marriage coaches to find that one person will be relating an incident, and the other partner will interrupt with, “I didn’t say that” or “That isn’t what happened.” One partner will continue to defend their memory of the incident while the other partner will continue to deny it ever happening. This type of miscommunication can continue until it begins to spiral out of control and starts to affect the relationship in a negative way.
While a marriage coach can help you in the moment, couples also need to work on this issue individually. These types of arguments are often an exercise in futility since they force the couple to stay in an unresolved circle. Each partner only seeks to be right, instead of fixing the problem at hand. It can make them feel invalidated and ignored by their partner, and such feelings are never good for your relationship. In fact, it can cause rifts in the relationship pretty early on – then nothing gets resolved.
For example, you are both sitting down for a meal that you cooked. After a few bites, your partner asks, “What is in this?” While they could just be inquiring about the recipe or ingredients, you can turn in into an argument simply by saying things like, “Why? What’s wrong with it?” or “You never like my cooking or when I try something new.” Your partner may end up feeling hurt that you responded to a simple question like that with such anger. It can lead into you accusing them of being overly critical and them accusing you of always taking their words in the wrong way.
This argument can continue into something bigger than it actually is and they chip away at your relationship.
7 Communication Tips for Couples
The truth of the matter is that you can’t possibly experience a conversation or event in the same way as your partner. The bigger problem also lies in the fact that you can’t really convince them that they didn’t experience the event in the way they think they did. There will always be your partner’s version, your version, and a version of what actually happened. The reality only lies in the last version or somewhere between the first two, but it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that the power struggles created by what we call inconsistent communication which can begin to affect your relationship for years to come. It is time for you and your partner to have a real conversation about the underlying problems instead of focusing on the nitty-gritty of the conversation.
Here are 7 communication tips that can help you save your relationship or marriage with a little effort.
1. Understanding the Real Issue
The first step to solving the argument is to determine what the real issue is about. You experienced what you think you did, and you heard what you think you heard. There is no need to defend this or justify it in any way because the entire process is pretty subjective to your own understanding. Everything is subject to the lens provided by your emotional, mental, or physical state at the time of the event. It is colored by your past experiences and background.
You need to move past this worldview and subjectivity in order to determine what the underlying cause of the argument or problem is.
2. It Might Not Be What They Meant
What you heard during the conversation isn’t necessarily what they meant or said during the argument or conversation. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t hear it at all, but rather, it was what you experienced at the time. But now what? How do you move forward? If you take action without any more information, but only on what you believe occurred, you can run into a deadlock.
If you stress over the tone that something was said in, or what was said, and what everything meant, you will begin to lose control over the incident and yourself. You will stay convinced that you are right while your partner will be convinced that they are the right one. If neither partner gives in any ground, it can be a loss for the relationship since you both will continue to fight useless arguments instead of fixing the root issues.
3. The ‘Stop, Feel and Think’ Method
One method that we recommend is trying the ‘Stop, Feel, and Think’ method. When you begin to realize that the argument is headed in the wrong way, you need to STOP talking. When you recognize that you are going in the wrong direction on your way somewhere, you won’t continue driving in the same direction. The same is the case with a conversation; why can’t you simply stop?
When you have stopped going in the wrong direction, this is where you need to analyze your FEELINGS. You need to deal with any feelings that have stirred up during the argument. You should start by analyzing what you understood from your partner’s words, their body language, or the tone they used, which created this reaction in you.
Do you feel vulnerable, frustrated, invalidated, afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, or hurt? If you can sense anger, there may be another more relevant emotion. Concentrating on that will allow you to get to the bottom of the issue.
You need to THINK more about the emotion clearly since this can be the basis of the story you have formed about what is happening. The emotion can act like a lens that dictates what you remember from the incident and what you are paying attention to. The emotion can be a reflection of what actually matters to you from the argument.
Save Your Relationship / Marriage
For example, you are feeling angry that your partner is asking to spend their nights with friends or someone else. The underlying emotion you may be feeling is neglect or loneliness, which is why you might interpret their request as leaving you behind or not wanting to spend time with you. When you come to this realization, you can have a real conversation about spending time together as a couple more often. The argument can turn into a healthy conversation about your relationship and date nights.
The interpretation you are getting at the beginning can be only one possible answer to the incident. There may be different interpretations that you haven’t even consider. You can identify some possible interpretations and give yourself the option of choosing one. This can give you a real way out of the argument loophole.
You also need to ask yourself why it important to you to be right about the incident. If you are striving to be right, then you are also striving for your partner to be wrong. Since you have different ways to interpret things, you are both allowed to be right too. If you consider and think about this, it can stop the argument from occurring and allow you to come to a concrete resolution.
4. Time Out – Calm Down Period
Everyone has different methods of reacting and interacting when communication breaks down in a relationship. If the argument continues to occur, it might begin to escalate into a place you will both end up regretting. When you feel like things are beginning to escalate in such a way, it can be the best thing for your relationship to slow it down by taking a 10-minute time out.
However, you need to exercise some care when you are attempting to do so to make sure that you aren’t just adding fuel to the fire. You may need to try different things to make sure that you can find a method that is suitable for you and your partner.
If you both are angry, upset, or wound up, the best thing you can do is to calm down first. It is important for you to let your emotions simmer down so that you or your partner are able to become composed before you trying to continue. Tell your partner that you do want to find out what happened more than you care about how they are feeling about the matter. Remember the goal is that you want to respect that they upset right now.
You should calmly let them know that you need more time to recuperate before you continue the conversation. You should only go to the next step once you both are calm.
5. Ask Them about Their Side
If you find yourself wondering what happened and scratching your head about how things got so flared up, the best thing to do is to just ask. Do make sure you approach the subject calmly and politely. A good way can be to inquire, “I am not entirely sure what happened. Can you please tell me what was upsetting to you?”
You need to make sure you are ready to listen as well when you ask. You shouldn’t be shocked or surprised to hear things that you may not have heard, thought, or said. Even in such a situation, you need to stay cool and listen to them calmly. There is a good reason why your partner is upset, and the only way you can understand is by listening to them. At this time, there is no need to become defensive; this is a time where you have to listen to them.
6. Explaining Your Side
If your partner is asking what happened and why you are so upset, you should do your best to explain your true feelings. You should be careful about the tone you are picking; instead of being sarcastic or defensive, you should explain clearly. You need to keep in mind that your partner doesn’t know about your understanding and perspective unless you tell them. Try and be truthful about what happened.
7. Staying with the Truth
You need to make sure that you accept the truth your partner is telling you, stop reading more into it than it really is. To make sure that you understand them properly, you can share with your partner your understanding by repeating what you heard them say. Let them know what you have learned how it helped you understand the situation better. Do make sure that you understand fully what the reasoning and emotion behind their reactions were as well.
By understanding and looking at the situation in a more positive way, respecting your partner, and asking about their perspective, you will be able to come to a resolution that suits both of you. Saving your relationship or marriage can mean that you have to change how you react and argue too. These 7 communication tips for couples can help you come to a better understanding of where you and your partner both stand. If you need to talk with a professional relationship coach? Contact Marriage Means Moore for a FREE Consultation!
For more help with communication tips pickup a copy of our book How Communicating Saved Our Marriage