The ABCs of Communication

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The one issue that is always presented to me when I first see a couple is communication. It is a common problem not only with couples, but within families, co-workers and other groups. Every couple wants to be able to interpret their partner clearly, and articulate themselves and be understood without argument. It can be incredibly frustrating. The biggest misnomer about couples and communication is that because you do talk to one another you are communicating. Talking to one another is wonderful and it is communication, however, it is most likely about day-to-day, essential things, not deeper, more important topics.  Also, there are different skill levels when it comes to articulating, understanding and connecting with one another. The important point here is, healthy communication is a skill and can be learned.Good communication is a necessary component of a relationship or marriage. You may improve your relationship today, right now, by putting the ABCs into practice. 

A:  Ask Questions

Most of the time, the attempt to communicate starts out calm. We are striving to understand what is being said or why our communicate is being blocked and one or both of us are most likely becoming upset. At this point, try to imagine what the other person is trying to communicate to you. Next, ask those questions. The questions will get you to the answer of what it is you are both attempting to connect about. Something that can get people in trouble here is, when one gets frustrated at not being able to understand another, we can get put on the defensive. Not a lot of communication can happen when you are feeling defensive.When you feel defensive you shut down. Ask questions!

B:  Be Calm

This is a very important aspect of communication. You have probably been part of a discussion that turned into an argument. Someone became defensive or frustrated out of misunderstanding or not understanding and it escalated into anger. To remain calm is not easy but you need to remain focused on your breathing, your tone, and your body language. Partners are very sensitive to whether the other's tone is soft, loud, etc,. Try to keep your body language open and calm, then the discussion will be more open. If one person can set the tone this way, then most likely the other person will follow along.

C:  Compassion

When you give compassion or empathy to another while attempting to communicate, it makes them feel understood and they become more open to you. They also become more compassionate towards you, promoting caring and love. Compassion within couples is an aspect that is often missing and needs development. Slowing down and thinking about the other person and what may be underneath what they are arguing for, or trying to convey, may bring out the compassion you have for them. 

Go slow when working on communication, it takes time, energy, and practice. The change in dynamic between you and your partner can set your relationship down a very positive path for the duration.