What Can I Do To Save My Relationship?
Do you ever 'get your wires crossed' with your partner? Do you ever wonder how they heard something so different from what you meant? Or, maybe they feel that way about you sometimes?
Or, do they. or do you, get upset about the smallest of things?
If you want to be sure you understand your relationship and to be sure you each know your partner’s intention and meaning behind what they are saying, then understanding how to listen and communicate is crucial.
Also, frequently we can attach a meaning to what we hear that is far different from the meaning the other intended. We don’t examine our understandings and therefore can utterly overlook or misunderstand the intent of our partner.
So many times I hear my clients say, "But you didn't say that!" with the other person adamant that they did. Possibly, they merely misunderstood the intent behind what the other person said, or they attached a different meaning to it. I am sure that you have had times where you seem to have heard something completely different to what your partner meant.
So what can be done about these misunderstandings in our relationships?
Choosing to believe that your partner doesn't mean to hurt you is a fantastic place to start. Perhaps the remarks are harsh. Take a minute to get curious rather than assuming that someone is trying to hurt you despite their abruptness or tone of voice. Perhaps they are feeling so hurt, afraid or fearful that the words come out wrong in their plea to be understood.
Often, especially when we are already feeling hurt, or unhappy in our relationship, we can attach meanings to things our partner says. Try to be aware though, that even when they are complaining there will be a need or desire underneath it. You, as their partner, may be able to help them with that so it is worth listening and learning what their desire or need is.
Ask yourself, what is the meaning that I am attaching to this? Does my partner really mean that? If you are not sure what they meant the try saying to them: When you do/say this, or when this happened, i feel that it means this... I
For example: "When you didn't call me when you were going to be late I felt that you didn't care about me or you didn't want to come home." This is a great way to share how you feel without causing conflict with the other person, in fact, it gives them the opportunity to reassure you that they do care and they couldn't help but be late.
Maybe they find it difficult to express their feelings. Perhaps they grew up learning that they would be ignored or reprimanded if they voiced their displeasure or disagreement. You cannot judge because you are not them. Therefore, there are a lot more outcomes that can occur if you try to understand, are curious, and, if necessary, be supportive, as opposed to presuming you know what they're trying to say.
Each of us has a unique way of expressing ourselves, and each of those methods is special and adds something special to our relationship. Sometimes, out of irritation or just bad habits, we can develop poor communication styles that don't work as well for us. This frequently occurs once we feel misunderstood or ignored.
How can you tell if you truly understood what your spouse meant, then?
Repeat your understanding of what they have said back to them straight away if possible. Ask them questions first if you need to.
Use words like: 'So what you are saying is....'
Or, 'what I am hearing is....'
You could also share what you think you've learned with them as a first step, especially if you can do it in a way that demonstrates and communicates your desire to comprehend. After all, if you've made the decision to commit to believing their goal is not to harm you, then you can have the courage to learn, let go of the need to defend your point of view, and want to see things from their perspective.
You will gain new insights from this and start to build a safe space where you both feel free to express yourselves knowing that you will both be heard and that you both want to learn and grow.
One of the components of coaching that I cover in my sessions with couples is how to achieve this and how to establish a real and secure atmosphere together.
This may be a big change in how you perceive your relationship and how you behave. Coaching can help guide you step by step to create more understanding with your partner and open the lines of communication more effectively.
Please get in touch today to book your consultation.