I recently attended a wedding at which there was a gorgeous couples dance. It started by getting the married couples on the dance floor and having them participate in what I like to call a ‘marriage-off’. Basically this involved the MC starting from 5 years of marriage all the way up to 35 years, those who had been married the longest remained on the dance floor until there was one couple left, they were almost at 40 years (incredible, right?).
They were asked for advice to give the newly weds, what was their secret to a long and lasting marriage. The response from the wife was this:
“Do what your husband says, bite your tongue and keep your mouth shut”
Needless to say I was so astounded at this response that my jaw actually dropped. That wasn’t advice and to me sounded more aligned to ‘things that will make you miserable and resentful in a relationship.’
A relationship in which you are doing what the other says, not speaking up for how you feel and keeping your mouth shut is not healthy at all. These relationships do not produce happiness; rather, they foster hate. Being a relationship coach I work with couples on the importance of communicating how you think/feel and what you want effectively and healthily whilst in a relationship.
A few of my tips for effectively communicating in a relationship:
Always approach any argument with a gentle tone – don’t start yelling about how you feel because nobody receives being yelled at in a positive way. Chances are the person on the receiving end will automatically become defensive and the argument will go from bad to worse. Try to keep your tone firm, but not condescending.
If you want something, sometimes you’re going to have to ask for it – People aren’t mind readers. Just because you are thinking something doesn’t mean your partner knows it. Asking for what you want or telling your partner what you’d like to do isn’t a bad thing! It’s how the both of you will grow and continue to learn about each other as the years go by. Next time you want to do something with your partner or have them do something for you speak up. It’s a great opportunity to open the communication channels for both of you and express your wants/needs/desires in an open and honest way!
Phrase your sentences so they clearly explain your feelings – this means saying things like ‘when you say… it makes me feel… I would like for you to stop doing that in order to alleviate my feelings getting hurt’. Always have an objective in all communications, especially if they’re in a heated discussion or argument.
Listen to them without focusing on what’s going on in your own head – most people are only half listening in heated conversations and arguments, which is why so many get misconstrued. People are too eager to give their own side of a story or own opinion. It is important to remember when in a heated conversation or argument to listen to what is being said without interrupting the person with your own thoughts. Actively listen and keep note if there is anything particular you would like to comment on after they have finished talking.
I have loads more and could go on forever, but you get my drift. A relationship is about two people being happy not only with themselves, but with each other. A relationship needs nurturing, support and encouragement to continually grow. Communication is one of the key successes it making that happen.
If you are ever in a relationship in where your wants, needs and feelings are being pushed to the side or not taken into a consideration it all – it’s time to go.