Initially, when relationships are new and barely a few old or even a few months old, everyone feels and seems rosy. In fact, there is hardly anything wrong or bad with either of the partners, and it looks like your little bubble of love will go on forever.
However, after a few months down the line, reality starts to settle in, and it almost feels like your fights are horrible and can last really long if care isn’t taken. The person who used to be your couch partner and your warm embrace suddenly goes awkwardly on you. One truth you must know is that relationships take work and whether we like it or not, there is bound to be a little bit of friction between both partners due to several reasons.
No partner is perfect as well as no relationship is perfect. However, what keeps a relationship going is a good and meaningful communication. Majority of relationship experts will tell you that the most significant contributor to a good relationship which lasts long asides love and understanding is communication.
Here, however, is where there can be a huge problem. Most people(partners) hardly ever understand what effective communication entails. What happens to the relationship if you find it hard to express yourself and your feelings? What happens if you don’t learn how to gist with your partner, talk to him or her, tell them how your day went and so on?
If you are wondering what happens when there is no communication among partners, well, it always leads to quarrels, misunderstandings and more fights than you would have ever wanted.
According to Monte Drenner who is a licensed counsellor and therapist with the MTC counselling center in Florida, he said that most men have a problem with validating their partner’s emotions and feelings. This, therefore, can lead to arguments which can quickly spin out of control if care isn’t taken.
Most times a big fight almost always threaten communication in a relationship. It always leads to a breakdown in conversation, and this can be a big blow to the relationship if not handled carefully.
In essence, communication is very vital if you want to maintain a relationship, avoid a big fight or patch up a recently cracked relationship due to arguments. You need to realise that for your relationship to work better, you must be ready to do better when it comes to communicating with your partner. We understand it is not a day’s job, but these seven steps can sure get you started in the right direction.
1. Learn to embrace the awkward situations when they arise:
In all relationships, there are moments when the awkward sets in and this might threaten the stability of the relationship if both partners don’t know how to go about it. It has been discovered that men most especially have difficulties in expressing their feelings. They haven’t learned to open up and discuss with their partners about their feelings and fears directly and honestly. This causes communication to become at times awkward, and this most especially happens even after their partner’s efforts to get them to talk.
For example, it is not intuitive to ask your partner if you can kiss them, but yet again, it has been discovered that this might be the best option for direct communication. Not just the can I kiss you part but the fact that asking for consent can be a way to open the lines of communication between you and your partner especially if you are trying to get back together after a recent heated argument.
According to sex therapist Rosara Torrisi, although she realises that it sometimes can become clunky yet she recommends that Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication can be an effective method of communication.
She says that it encourages everyone to be able to become more verbal about their needs, emotions, feelings, and values. According to her, it provides a wide range of vocabulary and choice of words to choose from. To get a better grip on what this method of communication entails, you can visit YouTube and search for videos explaining Rosenberg’s method.
Here is what you must understand though. Whether you are using his method or the usual direct method of discussing your feelings openly, you should realise that it is going to feel very awkward at first and it is okay. You can focus on how you feel and don’t try to project these feelings so on your partner. This opens a line of communication though awkward at first, but it gets better with time.
2. Learn to over communicate especially when you are in doubt:
It has been observed that if you are not sure about what to say or how much to say, a right place to proceed is to start at the very beginning. If you are not sure about how much you should be sharing, you can always start by sharing everything.
According to Paul Hokemeyer who is a marriage and family therapist, the majority of men tend to withhold on speaking about their feelings rather than indulging and laying their feelings bare. It has been observed that men usually don’t know how to express their feelings because of the fear of being seen as a weakling or being misunderstood.
However, instead of keeping your partner on their toes and making them to second guess themselves, it is better always to pour out your feelings using the best choice of words available.
It is okay if you over-explain yourself. It is alright if you talk about your feelings at length. According to Hokemeyer, he always encourages men to explain the things they need to and ignore the fear of over-explaining themselves.
3. Learn to take a step back in a heated argument:
There are two factors that can never go hand in hand, and that is anger and communication. The two of them can never blend. If you decide to talk when you are angry, you can say things that you don’t mean. There is every tendency to put your anger into words, therefore, hurting your partner the more.
Look at all the times you have hurt your partner. Look at what happened and how you reacted and hurt his/her feelings because you were angry. Paul Hokemeyer says that whenever we are mad and fighting with our partners, at that moment, we are ruled by the most basic and primitive part of our central nervous system.
This, therefore, causes us to explode the more and say things we don’t mean that can hurt our partners when we are angry. There is every tendency that we would say things that we know will make our partners feel terrible about themselves and their feelings.
Paul Hokemeyer adds that this is a very destructive dynamic. In order to avoid this progression of hurt and pain, he suggests that you take a step back and walk away from the argument. Walk away from the intensity of the fight. Doing this will give your partner and yourself time to cool and emotions to come back to normal.
It is okay to say that you aren’t in a good mood or a right place to talk and you can pend the discussion for later. It is better to take a walk away from the scene without uttering a word. This would save you the stress of having to patch up things later on.
You can decide to take about 30 minutes or an hour away from the scene. This would give your mind time to calm down, and Yoruba heart rate will come back to normal hence you can think clearly and put your words into expression while you choose them wisely.
There are times your partner won’t want you walking away from them at that point in time. Hence, if this is the case, count about 1-50 in your head. This gives you time to zone out of the argument.
Asides the fact that it helps you zone out, counting in your head during an argument can help you reason during an argument hence shifting your emotions from your primitive part of your brain to a higher centre which allows for more reasoning thus whatever comes out of your mouth will be to cause a resolution to the fight instead of aggravating it.
4. Learn never to try to fix everything:
One problem that men tend to have is the fact that they always want to fix anything and everything even though it isn’t yet broken. Many times, all their partner may wish to is merely a listening ear. However, most men believe in fixing things including a problem that hasn’t yet occurred.
According to Drenner, he says that most partners actually want to be heard when they are venting. Many times all their partner wants is a chance to share a struggle with their partner. Guess what guys, your partner isn’t really looking for a solution. At least not when she is venting. All she wants is to be heard. They need the answers later, but for now, they want a listening ear first. If you don’t understand that, you might find out that your partner will become disappointed.
Here is what we think you should do. Until you are asked to try and help them fix a problem, don’t jump right to fixing it. If possible, ask what you are needed to do to make life better and more comfortable.
5. Learn to Listen more rather than speak:
Most times in a relationship when couples tend to argue and fight, it is often because they have both refused to offer a listening ear to themselves. Whenever a couple has an argument, both partners are always focused on proving their points. They always want to show that they are right in their way.
There are times when you both as a couple won’t understand each other. In fact, in relationships, there are bound to be conflicts. But there are moments when you need to take a step back away from speaking. Even if you don’t agree with what your partner says, you don’t necessarily have to speak to shut them out.
You sometimes have to listen and also reason with what your partner is saying. It is essential you see your partners perspective and try to see things from their own view. Here is what I advise you to do. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
You need to work harder at trying to listen than trying to be understood. According to Drenner, it is usually hard to argue with a person who is trying to see things from your own perspective. It is hard to argue with someone who is trying to understand you.
If you believe you are right, then you really don’t need to argue. All you need to do is to listen to their words and understand their feelings. This will help you make effective counter-arguments that will bring you both closer to a clear understanding.
6. Learn to let yourself become vulnerable:
Many times, men always want to hide their vulnerability from their partner. They always wish to be seen a single strong without emotions or feelings. According to Hoke Meyer, he says that man has been acculturated to think rather than to feel.
Right from their tender age, men have been taught that they will be viewed as weak if they tend to show any emotion or feelings. This, therefore, leads to the fact that as soon as they begin to show emotion, they tend to become vulnerable.
If you want to communicate with your partner well, you must learn to bare your feelings. You must learn to be vulnerable. You need to learn how to share your feelings. In all relationships, communication requires a certain level of vulnerability. You mustn’t always be in control of all discussions and how the communication will proceed if you must be vulnerable.
Your partner prefers you instead show your emotions than being a robot who is emotionless. For women, they view vulnerability as strength so if you want to show your woman how strong you are, sometimes, show her your vulnerable side as well.
7. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help:
In every relationship, you must understand that you are not alone. When you are in a relationship, you should realise that your partner is with you and this is a fact that you must always remember through every argument.
Your partner may have already mastered the art of communicating well or maybe she is just learning as well. Either way, your partner will be open to letting you become better by helping you if you let her.
You can always ask your partner for help, and she will be willing to help provided you are willing to work hard at being better at communicating with her. Learning to communicate effectively requires you being honest and open to learning.
Acknowledge that you are others perfect. You have your insecurities and fear but don’t we all? We all have something to lose but everything to gain when we are open to communicating. Never stop trying to become better. You both can make it work but with time and hard work.