Don’t Just Talk, Communicate! Advice for Couples
Communication is one of the most important aspects in a romantic relationship; it is also one of the most common reasons couples seek out therapy. Communication isn’t just expressing our needs, but also involves how we hear our partner when they express theirs. As a relationship goes on we much constantly evaluate how we communicate with our partner. The absence of meaningful communication within a relationship can lead to miscommunication, fights, and resentment.
How many times have you thought about your partner “they just don’t get it”? The answer may not actually be that simple. It may be that you are not communicating in a way they can easily understand, or they need some help with their listening skills to really grasp what you are trying to get across. Successful communication takes practice and does not come easy to many. Couples need to be willing to put in the hard work that it takes for most to reach a point of positive and healthy communication on a regular basis.
I’ve worked with many Chicago couples in therapy sessions to improve these communications skills.
As children we learn to communicate from our parents or other adult caregivers. We begin to pick up some of the aspects, both negative and positive, of their communication styles and merge them into our own style of communicating with the world. When individuals enter into a romantic and intimate relationship they are suddenly faced with the task of making their style work with that of their partner. For some couples this is not a problem, but for others it can be quite the challenge.
Difficulty communicating with our partner does not mean we love them any less than a couple that finds communication easy, it just means you come from backgrounds where you learned different styles. Differences in the way we communicate with each other can be incredibly frustrating, but it isn’t all bad. Having a partner that you find difficult to articulate wants and needs to can actually help foster new experiences that can bring you closer together. It is one of those challenges that you will have to navigate together and can emerge on the other side with a greater understanding of and appreciation for each other. Learning to communicate more efficiently with each other will take a consideration for the pasts you both come from.
Taking a deeper look at our families of origin and the way we were trained to communicate from an early age can help couples further understand why they communicate they way they do. This understanding allows for couples to more thoughtfully practice communication together and find a middle ground, so to speak, between their two original styles. With a little patience and willingness to work together couples can learn to communicate with each other more effectively and achieve a more fulfilling and positive life together.