Are these working for your relationship?
Or would you like important conversations to go better?
Feeling understood and understanding is a very large part of loving. Communication matters! So approach important conversations carefully. If your partner resolutely disagrees to focus attentively on things that are important to you, then you must think about the whole relationship and your lifestyle. Think about the following first.
Bad conversation openers:
- “I want a child..” (Your partner is tired and worried today; can’t do this, feels manipulated by the importance of the subject.)
- “I am resigning my job..” (Partner is anxious about money, feels irritated.)
- “You are never there when I need you..” (Partner disagrees, is instantly guilty/defensive/aggressive.)
If you want to nurture the relationship, where possible request an agreed time to talk. Here are examples of a better way to start these three conversations:
- “I love the way we are together and I have been thinking about the future. When would be a good time for us to talk?”
- “Today at work was dreadful, I just couldn’t cope yet again! Is now a good time to put our heads together on this? I need your help.
- “I have been struggling and feeling cut off from you recently, when would be the best time to talk over the weekend?”
Each time there is a specific when? These are not about wanting more control so that my needs are met. They invite power sharing.
In this way important communication can be ring-fenced and done intentionally. Choose to talk with no interruptions, no tiredness, over emotionality or substances; most of all when you are both willing to be non-judgemental and use empathy. If you simply can’t find these times ask: What things really matter most? Does the way I/we are living – our lifestyle – get us what we both want?
Then your first conversation could begin:
“I’ve noticed how we just seem to drift into discussing really big issues at bad times for us; We both get triggered and it goes wrong. When could we talk about a better way of discussing important things together?”
With thanks to:
Imago Therapy and “Getting the Love you Want” by H Hendrix,
The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change by Carl Rogers Journal of Consulting Psychology, US, 1957 Vol. 21.
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