Relationship disagreements are disruptive to say the least. They make us sad, resentful, upset, angry and more.
There is no such thing as a relationship without conflict! There will always be a few bumps in the road. Some conflicts are small. Others are colossal and difficult to manage. How you resolve the conflict, not how many occur, is the critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, mutually satisfying or unsatisfying, friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold.
So… what’s the solution?
Communicate!… in a loving way!
“Effective communication – especially in times of conflict – calls for a focused dedication and repetitious practice. It calls for honest self-evaluation, humility, a sense of fair play, and a willingness to change according to the needs of the relationship. And it takes (at least) two.” ~ Thom Rutledge, LCSW
Communication is a word we often hear when people talk about improving relationships. In relationships it is the quality of the communication that makes the most difference, not necessarily the quantity or speed of delivery. If you are angry, it is wise to call for a “temporarily” time-out to give yourself some time to “think” about the words that you are about to speak. That is much better than flying off the handle and saying something that you will later regret. Think before you speak… Weigh your words!
It is a wise love partner who is aware of the potential damage loose words can cause. Words spoken in anger inflict wounds that sometimes take a long time to heal. Think first, then speak.
Communicating is not optional. It is an absolute necessity for the success of the relationship. Not communicating with your relationship partner – or not allowing them access to your thoughts and feelings – can exact a heavy price. A communications gap doesn’t only undermine the potential of the relationship; it can, and usually will eventually destroy the relationship.
The sound of silence in a relationship is deafening. The silent treatment sends many messages – “I’m not interested,” “I have nothing of value to say,” “Whenever I say something you argue with me,” “I give up. . . what’s the use?” and more.
Did you know that “listen” and “silent” use the same letters? Interesting side-note, eh?
In my opinion, the number one problem in relationships is “undelivered communication.” It’s the things we don’t communicate. We know we should but because the last time we did, it caused a confrontation, argument, anger, frustration and we want to avoid these feelings so we stuff them. The next thing you know is, your partner didn’t take out the garbage and you want a divorce and it’s not about the garbage.
This will help. Agree to talk about anything and everything, all the time. It is one of the best agreements you will ever make and one of the hardest to live up to. Talk about the things that are “relevant” to your relationship… not past relationships. Talking about past relationships often causes the disagreements you are trying to avoid.
It takes a lot of energy to remain confused. If you feel stuck, perhaps it’s time to get clear about confusion. As long as you remain confused, you will not have to commit to and/or take responsibility for a plan of action such as communicating with your partner or promising to make some positive changes.
Trapped energy causes you to cling to misconceptions about your relationship. The process of openly and honestly communicating will help you convert painful emotional energy into powerful energy you can use to move your relationship forward. Once the precious energy that was trapped as a painful experience becomes free, it can then be expressed as forgiveness, goodness, beauty and love.
My father used to think that the only way he could get my attention was to raise his voice. Increasing the decibels never helps. Yelling does not work. Shutting down does not work. Interrupting your partner does not work. Show respect! A large part of communication is listening. Be careful of the tone of voice you use. Softer tones are more effective.
If you can’t “communicate” without raising your voices, go to a public spot like the library or restaurant, where you’d be embarrassed if anyone heard you yelling.
“Whispering piques our interest and demands our attention. Yelling, on the other hand, is a waste of time, regardless of how urgent the issue is.” ~ Seth Godin
Even though it may appear that you are from different planets because you share so little in your communication, it is possible for you to lay down your ray guns, seek peace and choose to travel in the same orbit, working together to celebrate your differences in ways that mutually benefit the relationship.
Always remember: “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!”
BONUS Article: Do You Have Audioapathy?
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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