Relationship Counselling - How To Communicate Better

Communicate Better By Setting time aside For Regular Talking

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Communicating better starts with having the intention to spend regular time together with your partner. 

"Us time" is best achieved by having regular activities or rituals such as going for a walk or sitting on the sofe together when you come home from work. Give yourself time to together. 

If you regularly make time to talk then resentments and anger  won't build up. 

It might help to follow a structure where one of you talks for 10 minutes about whatever comes up, while the other listens without saying anything. If there is silence - nothing to say, just stay with it for the full 10 minutes. This is followed by 5 minutes feedback which is conversational with you both talking.  Then swop over to do 10, 5 the other way.

  • Being honest and real with each other can be scary, yet it's the way to go.
  • It's important to keep a "clean heart" towards each other so if something is bothering you, that makes you feel distant from your partner.Don't keep it to yourself - share it.
  • If you are fearful of having arguments or upsetting each other it's well worth getting some support to understand your fears. It's important that you can be true to yourself and express what you feel. If you learn how to listen and negotiate with each other, differences get worked through and don't lead to arguments.

Prioritise Having A Relationship Instead of Arguing About Who Is Right

  • relationship counselling coupleFocus on what you want, rather than arguing over the details of who said what, when, and who is right. Often you both are !
  • It doesn't matter that you see the world differently along as you can agree a way forward that meets both your needs.
  • Be curious about what is important to your partner.  Respect the things that they say are important,  are important to them.
  • Remember when you are arguing that deep down your partner wants to connect with you.

There's Room For "Male Logic" and "Female Feeling"

  • Men tend to focus on the content of what is said and argue the details using, " male logic";whereas women tend to focus on the feelings underneath - "Female Feeling". In an argument it can be as if a man and woman are on two different radio channels, wishing the other to tune into their channel.
  • Here's a story that helps explain the differences:
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    In ancient times men would need to go out and hunt. They needed to  focus on one thing - the hunt and be direct with each other to work together to survive. Women would be busy child-rearing and keeping the social network together. Survival for the women was about keeping the social harmony . Directness was avoided as it was too confrontational and left them feeling vulnerable of being excluded from the group. They learnt the art of subtle communication where it was only necessary to hint at what was needed and the other women would pick things up without their being any confrontation. What was important was how each person felt and keeping the harmony and connection in the group. In modern times there is still the conditioning of men being validated for their logic and women being validated for their ability to tune in and connect with feeling.

  • Men and women both benefit from honouring and appreciating the differences between the genders and realise that we have different life journeys and social conditioning. For many, it's a massive shift to stop expecting a partner to communicate in the same way they do. Men expect women to be logical and women expect men to pick up indirect signals.
  • Men can learn to listen to the feeling and respond with feeling on the "feeling channel" and women can learn to speak directly and with fewer words to men on the "logic channel".

In Arguments First Seek To Understand

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  • In an argument you both want to be understood by each other. It's hard to remember this you are in the heat of an argument.<
  • Tips for men: It's hard to stand back a bit and first seek to understand what your partner is trying to say it terms of what they are feeling and needing. Learn to listen to the message underneath the content.
  • Show you are listening and understanding by respectfully interrupting your partner by saying,'Let me see if I'm getting this..' then; repeat back what you have heard ( without adding any judgments or justifications ). You don't need to agree with what your partner said or question it - first show you are hearing what is said. Check with your partner if they have more to add. Let them finish before responding. You don't need to repeat back everything, just the key bits. Yes,it can be difficult to do this!
  • Often the message sent isn't the message received. Your partner may feel you are criticising them when that isn't your intention. Sometimes it's worth asking them to say back to you what they heard you say. This does need to be sensitively done so your partner understands that your intention is to check that there isn't any miscommunication rather than your intention is to control or patronise them
  • Tips for men-  women rarely want you to offer solutions to what they are telling you about, unless they specifically ask. They are wanting you to hear them out.and offer reassurance that  you believe they will sort it out.

Schedule Quality Time Together

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  • Schedule time together in your diaries so there is time to nourish your emotional bond and have fun together.
  • Make sure that you have uninterrupted time for love making. Allow plenty of time to connect and relax together before lovemaking so you are ready to make love in a connected way rather than use lovemaking as a way of discharging tension. Keep the focus on staying connected to each other, by slowing things down and sharing how you are feeling .
  • Quality time is about setting an intention to be fully open and available to each other and not to feel there is a pressure to  make love.

Show That You Appreciate Your Partner

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  • The art to making an appreciation is to be specific - say what your  partner did ,what  you feel about it, and why it is important to you.
  • " Last night when you listened to me telling you all about my work day...I felt so cared for and that you were really there for me. That's important to me because it makes me feel special and close to you."
  • Appreciate your partner the moment that you feel it. Develop the habit of noticing good feelings and expressing them.
  • The ratio of appreciation to bringing up issues should be 5 to 1. Appreciate your partner 5 times more often than bringing up issues.
  • Giving and receiving appreciations is a habit that takes practice and perseverance before it feels natural.
  • To receive an appreciation if you don't know what else to say just say ,'thank-you' and let it in.
  • Are you giving your partner what works for you rather than what works for them?
  • Notice what makes your partner feel loved. What do they respond best to : Appreciative words /gifts/flowers/love notes/loving actions/touch/spending time with them/Doing a service for them?
  • Ask your partner , find out what makes them feel loved

Say What You Need

couple1 hold handGood communication comes from a willingness to share who you are and that means risking being vulnerable and saying what you need.

Tips for Women - Men easily feel overwhelmed with hearing lots of words and tend to want to focus on one thing at once. Say what you are wanting specifically. Remember that men want to feel appreciated and trusted to deliver so if you show you have faith in your partner and are trusting him to sort something out , and will appreciate him for doing so, he's going to be more responsive.

Here are the steps

1. Make your request as calmly as possible
2. Get agreement that he is willing to do it
3. Back off, so he is left with it. You are trusting him with it so you must maintain that trust for a period of time
4. If you need to follow it up, repeat the process and agree a specific time.
5. If you need to follow up again, say how in small and in big things him keeping his word is important for you in order to trust him.

See The Part You Play In Any Issue

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Relationship issues take two. A relationship is a system where the behaviour of one effects the feelings of the other and vice versa. If one of you is feeling insecure that could be because both of you are not talking enough for there to be a secure feeling  of connection.

Avoid Saying Each Other is "The Problem".

  • Become aware of how what you say and do affects your partner. Notice how you set yourself up for a fight by what you do or don't do. Rather than purely focusing on how your partner's behaviour triggers your feelings, consider how what you are doing might be experienced by your partner eg how your behaviour impacts your partner.

Stay Connected

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  • Many arguments stem from there being lack of connection between you. If you focus on reconnecting rather than "the content" of the argument it helps.
  • Make physical contact by touching on the arm/shoulder or hand to hand with your partner as this maintains a feeling of care and connection.
  • Tips for Men - It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the speed of women talking so it's essential to jump in, touch her on the hand or arm and interrupt her respectfully and say ,'let me see if I'm getting this'. This helps you both slow down and keep connected.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed in an argument tell your partner that you need a time out for 20 mins and check that is Ok. The key thing is to stress that you want to sort this out and you will be back after the agreed time. You need to keep your word about reengaging for this to work.
  • Pay attention to greeting and leaving rituals so you and your partner feel nourished when you come together and part.Take time to focus on saying goodbye and hello! It's the intention to maintain connection that counts.
  • Give Your Partner What They Need

    communicate quality time

  • Women need to feel "special" and men need to feel "appreciated".
  • If you act towards your partner being sensitive to the basic needs you get the joy of giving your partner what they need
  • If You are Stuck and Can't Communicate

    • You might find that you get emotionally triggered despite your best efforts to change how you communicate. This is because of the bonding patterns we learnt from a young age where we decided how safe it is to connect to others. It's uncanny how couple's have bonding patterns that trigger off each other. 
    • Bonding patterns are made up from:
      1. What you learnt about what it is to be a man or a woman
      2. What you learnt about relationships
      3. Your experience of love and conflict in your family
      4. What you learnt about power and vulnerability
    • If you find yourself stuck in the same arguments, consider relationship counselling as a way of giving yourself and your partner the support you need to communicate better and feel emotionally closer. You don't need to figure it all out by yourself.


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