Effective Communication Can Be Learned; It Will Improve Your Relationship.
Communication issues are one of the most common reasons why couples seek marriage therapy. Couples therapy is a safe environment to identify and understand negative communication patterns in your relationship. Your marriage therapist can also help you learn and nurture positive communication skills such as active listening, reflecting, or “I” statements.
However, many of us have a good knowledge of communication skills yet fail to use them in real-life run-ins with our partners and other people.
How do such things happen? Because communication skills usually don’t last, you need to work on them continually. You may be intelligent, creative, reasonable, and keen to learn new skills to improve your communication. Nevertheless, sooner or later, you may return to old, unproductive communication patterns, particularly when it comes to arguments.
Life circumstances that most commonly contribute to communication challenges for couples include:
•failure to understand each other’s points of view
•poor listening skills
•mental health issues
•traumatic upbringing experiences
•unrealistic expectations from a relationship, and so on.
Poor communication in relationships is also one of the most common reasons for divorce today. Whether it is a lack of communication, double messages, “you” language, or poor listening skills, miscommunication can cause ongoing disagreements and quarrels, frustration, dissatisfaction, and disconnection in your relationship.
Here are some of the most common communication issues in relationships.
You are Using Double Messages in Communication
Many people tend to use double or mixed messages in communication. Double messages, also known as double binds, refer to a message where the verbal and nonverbal meanings contradict one another.
Most times, we do it unconsciously, without even knowing that we are sending double messages.
For example, you may be saying one thing while your facial expression, tone of voice, and body posture send an entirely different message. Mixed messages usually create confusion, tension, and frustration in a relationship. They lead to distrust and carry a lack of respect for other person’s needs and emotions.
If You Send Double Messages, Your Partner Will Learn Not To Trust You.
Your Communication Is Packed With “You” Language And Universal Statements
Universal statements and “you” language tend to sound judgmental and typically provoke defensiveness and resentment in a person who receives them.
For example, if you habitually use language such as “You’d better…”, “You have to…”, or “You shouldn’t…” you are likely to sound critical and disapproving.
People don’t like to be told what to do, so “you” language typically provokes defensiveness, aggressive behavior, or withdrawal and keeps you stuck in a negative cycle. Similarly, universal statements such as or “You never…” or “You always…” tend to generalize a person’s behavior or character negatively.
Universal Statements And “You” Language Sound Accusing And Critical; They Contribute To A Breakdown In Communication.
You Avoid Conflicts And Never Reach A Resolution
Negative cycles are dysfunctional patterns of interactions that cause anxiety in your relationship. Being trapped in negative cycles and unproductive communication patterns doesn’t allow you to find a resolution to your problems, and it can prevent you from moving forward and healing as a couple. Many couples come in for their weekly session, work on their communication issues, go home, and experience more conflict and poor communication.
Most of us tend to think that conflicts are something bad that should be avoided if we want to live peacefully. The myth that kind people don’t engage in conflicts is so misleading, though.
You should not avoid your partner’s arguments as conflict can benefit your relationship if you know your cycle and restore closeness after a fight.
Conflicts can help you acknowledge each other’s perspectives and understand the differences and similarities between your needs, expectations, attitudes, and beliefs. Open arguments boost honesty and can help you accept one another.
Once You Overcome Your Fear Of Conflict, You’ll Be Able To Approach Disagreements Confidently And Assertively.
Couples Counseling Can Help Improve Communication
Communication difficulties in a relationship usually leave partners stressed and frustrated. When two people cannot talk and find a solution to their problems, they tend to withdraw and lose closeness. Reaching this point in your relationship means that you would probably benefit from marriage counseling.
During the psychotherapy process, we will work out through your unhelpful communication patterns until you understand how these patterns affect your relationship and well-being and learn new, positive communication skills.
Regardless of the nature or extent of your concerns, I work with couples and individuals in an atmosphere of respect and understanding, without judgment. I utilize numerous techniques such as CBT, mindfulness exercise, and experiential therapy to help you identify, reduce, or eliminate concerns that interfere with your everyday personal and professional life.