Communication in Relationships
Communication is an art form. Many would even call it a dance. Being able to share your thoughts in a way that is clear, in a way that others can receive, while giving the other person space to process their own thoughts and feelings is an intricate dance that requires effort, time, and skill. It’s a dance where many struggle to find balance and rhythm and can leave feelings of disconnection and loneliness.
More often than not, relationships tend to be filled with “speakers;” those who want to be heard and can be quick to give thoughts sometimes in lieu of listening to what the other has to say. When we no longer have “listeners” in the dynamic we can lose the side of genuine and intentful listening, the ability to fully understand others’ points or feelings. We can become so focused on giving our own thoughts that we find ourselves not listening and instead waiting till we can speak; completely missing the opportunity to connect with our loved one in a way that builds trust, intimacy, and connection.
In relationships, many times partners can find themselves in the routine of trying to “talk” i.e. resolve conflict, explore feelings or discuss something difficult that ends in arguments, harsh words or withdrawal. Partners can feel blamed, criticized, even “attacked” and can become defensive resulting in further disconnect and feelings of “being stuck”. The conversation shifts from “I’m here to listen” to “I need to protect myself.”
So, what does it look like to start to listen intently? It starts with the process of asking questions that deepen your understanding of that person and why they feel or think in their ways. It’s the process of expanding what we think we know about the person and exploring their inner worlds.
Where does this feeling coming from? Is this something that comes up for you in other places? Tell me more about what goes through your mind when that happens.
The idea of asking deeper questions isn’t to try and resolve an issue or fix a problem but to better understand the inner voice and workings of our partners.
One of the most crucial parts to communication in relationships is the importance of being curious and genuine in our interactions with our partner, meaning; listening with intent to understand their views and feelings to fully hear and understand their perceptions and truths. We cannot fully hear what the other person is saying if we are already thinking of what we want to say back to them.
Learning to be present with our partners takes effort and time, but the reward of connecting in this deeper more meaningful way creates the rhythm of trust and safety and strengths a longer lasting friendship.
Ready to get started with couples counseling or want more information about communication in relationships? Contact us today.