69 Percent of Relationship “Problems” Do Not Get Solved; They Are Successfully Managed!
Try this simple and effective clear communication formula… “I feel…, I would like…, Can you/we…?” Try to make each one just one sentence. Look out for the easiest way to mess it up by saying “I feel that YOU…”. Use those good ole feelings words like happy, sad, scared, hurt, worried, disappointed, confused, anxious, rejected and so on. When you start with a feeling, people you care about usually want to listen.
Here are some examples of how NOT to talk about difficult issues: How do you feel hearing these statements? – “You just don’t get me.”, “You are so selfish!”, “I feel that YOU don’t care about me.”, “I never get my needs met.”, “Why are you such a ….!?”
Now here are some better ways to communicate about issues: How do these sound now? – “I feel sad and would like to feel closer; can you just sit with me?, “I am lonely lately. I wish we had more time together. Can we both be home 3 nights a week? “I feel insecure sometimes and would like more physical contact. Can we try to kiss more often?”
We all do it… blaming, overgeneralizing, assuming, criticizing. None of these are really helpful even though we may feel angry and they may feel good at the moment they come out. Many people think that if a relationship is basically healthy, most issues get resolved (especially those “deal breakers”). Yet, according to psychologist and author John Gottman’s research, 69 percent of problems in marriage do not get solved, but rather they are successfully managed. The key is to start in a way that makes people want to hear you and end with a specific thing they can do to help. Clear communication means that we take responsibility for our own feelings and ask specifically for what we need. Easier said than done!
~Online Relationship Counseling & Coaching
Debbie Cherry, LMFT