By the time we reach age two, and as any parent will attest, humans will have highly developed persuasion and debating skills. Of course, the debates and persuasive arguments consist of mostly single-syllable words. Still, when delivered at full volume and with an intense passion, they can be quite convincing.
Sadly, the loudest, most persistent voices in many homes are the ones that are most rewarded. Some children are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to getting an additional cookie or glass of juice.
Beleaguered parents will cave to get an extra moment of peace. The children of these homes grow into adults who are conditioned into believing that being the loudest is the way to win an argument or get their way.
Other homes create an environment which is just the opposite, and the children’s wishes are ignored, belittled, and dismissed. These children grow into adults who will resist expressing their desires because they never expect them to be acknowledged.
Working Towards Diplomacy
If we were to all grow up with perfect parents, we would all learn that fair compromise, or “give and take” is more productive than loudly making claims while ignoring all other input.
Diplomacy is a skill that is worth cultivating. It’s not just a powerful force for peaceful international relations, because it also has value in relationships of a domestic nature, which includes the people you surround yourself with every day.
Excellent Communication Skills Equates to More Action in the Bedroom
Whenever people seek couples therapy, one area which receives a lot of attention is communication. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in a relationship, or how old you are, being able to engage in positive discussions with your other half will always pave the way for more rewarding relationships and more satisfying sexual encounters.
A study conducted on college-aged couples revealed that effective communication is highly valued in a relationship, and couples that reported as such said they found the relationship more pleasant overall.
When you can’t ask for what you need, you will have a tough time getting your needs met, but it’s never too late to improve your communication skills. When you do, you will find that you will be heard and understood more often.
Becoming more effective at communication will mean that you need to become an active listener. It’s such an essential skill that it has become a standard part of the curriculum of just about every helping profession preparation program. However, everybody can find benefit in improving their relationships through more effective negotiations.
10 Ways to Discuss Everything from the Incidental to the Monumental
Find a neutral place. For instance, starting a serious discussion about the household budget when in bed and about to retire for the night may not be conducive to fruitful discourse.
Adjust your body language. Make sure you are sending the right signals for a connection. This strategy will be especially useful if you have some concerns about how the topic will be received.
Make direct eye contact with your partner. This is not an aggressive stance, as you are not trying to stare down your partner. Find a balance where you are not coming across as hostile, but you are also letting your partner know that you are not afraid to confront the issue. Be mindful of where your eyes are looking. If you find them wandering, bring them back to your partner as soon as you notice.
Start with an ‘I’ statement. This can help remove some of the pressure from your partner. Please note, “I need you to change,” is not the sort of statement we are getting at here. Own your feelings and keep your language at a level that lets your partner know that you are aware everyone is responsible for their own thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.
Don’t ask closed questions. Questions which invite a yes or no answer do not encourage discussion. Instead, invite your partner to share their perceptions by keeping your questions open-ended.
Try not to interrupt your partner. Stay focused and attentive regardless of whether you like or agree with what they are saying. Focus more on your goal of sharing honest communication and building a better relationship.
Seek to understand. Listen carefully and check in with your partner by reflecting back what you think they are saying. You want to make sure you understand the message, rather than just hear the words.
Be attentive. Use phrases like “What I hear you saying is…” or “If I understand you correctly, I think you are feeling…” By doing this, you are showing you are attentive and that you care about what is being said and are doing your best to understand everything they are trying to say.
Empathize. By developing a deeper understanding of where your partner stands on an issue, you will be more able to empathize with their point of view. You might be surprised at how different each of your views are on the issue.
Use collaborative language. Remember, you are both on the same team and your goal is to reach an understanding rather than prove who is right. State your ideas but leave some room for your partner to have their input. Use statements like “perhaps we could try… what do you suggest?”
Above all, make sure you keep the lines of communication open and the dialogue flowing. If the discussion becomes heated, take a time out for emotions to cool off and then come back to the topic.
If you worry that the communication in your relationship is stuck, unproductive, or emotionally intense, it can be very helpful to learn and practice communication skills in couples counseling.
Couples counselors have been trained to treat couples without taking sides and guide you both to reach a better understanding. For more information about counseling to get your relationship back on track, Read more here: Couples Counseling