How to Improve Your Communication Style in Your Relationship for a Healthier Partnership
Communication is an essential component of a healthy relationship. Healthy communication involves having the ability to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas and listen actively to your partner’s views.
Unfortunately, many couples find it challenging to communicate effectively, often leading to confusion, misunderstandings, and conflict. In this article, we will delve into different communication styles that can be harmful to a relationship, as well as the importance of examining and understanding our communication styles in fights with our partners.
Assertive communication is a healthy type of communication that is characterized by clear communication style and setting appropriate boundaries. In an assertive style, you can honestly and effectively express your ideas, feelings, and thoughts in a respectful and polite tone without offending your partner.
Being assertive in your communication style is vital in building trust, respect, and intimacy in your relationship.
Have you ever felt like your partner is always trying to win at your expense while arguing? If yes, then you may have experienced an example of aggressive communication.
Aggressive communication is characterized by a loud, bullying tone that aims to win and overpower the other person in the conversation. This communication style can damage your relationship by creating tension, fear, and resentment.
If you have heard your partner saying ‘nothing is wrong,’ despite his subtle actions proving otherwise, then you may have experienced passive-aggressive communication. Passive-aggressive communication is an indirect form of aggression that entails sabotaging, sarcasm, or being resentful to convey a message indirectly.
Passive-aggressive communication-style does not promote honesty, and it can be harmful to a relationship.
A submissive communication style involves sacrificing your voice, neglecting your opinions, and self-doubt. In a submissive communication style, you’re overly apologetic, inexpressive, have a problem communicating your feelings, and cannot take responsibility for your actions.
Such an approach to communication is detrimental to a relationship, as it promotes unhealthy dependencies and a lack of mutual respect.
Manipulative communication refers to a calculated and scheming communication style that involves controlling the conversation or conversation partner. It’s characterized by subtle tactics that seek to control the conversation without openly communicating the message.
Manipulative communication can lead to mistrust, disrespect, and a breakdown in communication. The Importance of Process in Couple’s Fights
Fights are a common occurrence in any relationship, but how couples handle conflicts can make or break a relationship.
Unresolved fights that involve an endless argument or circular conversations can lead to frustration and resentment. Focusing on unhealthy patterns and a lack of affection can lead to more conflict, which can make communication difficult.
It is essential to examine and understand your communication style to address the issue. Couples can start by recognizing their style’s unhealthy patterns and incorporating healthier communication skills, such as active listening, assertiveness, and conveying their feelings and thoughts honestly.
Effective communication is vital to building a healthy relationship. It’s important to recognize unhealthy communication styles like aggression or passive-aggressive.
Examining and understanding your communication style during conflict can help reduce frustration and resolve conflicts. Adopting healthier communication patterns like assertiveness and active listening can help build mutual respect and intimacy in a relationship.
Starting the Process of Better Communication in Your Relationship
Couples who continuously argue and are unable to communicate effectively often feel distant, unsupported, misunderstood, and unappreciated. In such scenarios, communication skill-sets can restore the intimacy and enhance relationship growth, which will improve the quality of life for both partners.
The following are ways to start the process of better communication for couples. Utilizing John Gottman’s XYZ Statement
John Gottman is a leading expert in the field of couples’ therapy, and he has devised a powerful communication tool known as the XYZ statement.
This communication tool is an assertive communication approach that validates the other person’s feelings while also expressing one’s own thoughts and feelings. It goes like this:
“When you (X), I feel (Y), and I need (Z).”
For example, “When you don’t put your dishes in the sink (X), I feel disrespected and frustrated (Y), and I need you to put them in the sink (Z).”
The XYZ statement helps decrease escalation during conversations, as it shows respect for the other person’s feelings, while also communicating one’s own needs.
Using this tool in communication can lead to a purposeful dialogue that helps resolve issues, reduce conflict, and increase intimacy.
The Role of a Therapist as a Mediator and Negotiator
If you and your partner are struggling to communicate effectively, one step you can take is to seek out a qualified couples therapist. The therapist’s role is to listen, reflect back for clarity, and help break unhealthy patterns.
Couples’ therapy creates a safe and neutral space where both parties can share their thoughts and concerns while learning to communicate in healthier ways. During therapy sessions, the therapist will work as a mediator and negotiator between the couple, helping them navigate their communication styles and better understand one another.
The therapist identifies unhealthy communication styles and provides training in healthier communication tools to use in everyday life. Awareness is the most critical step in starting an effective communication process.
Couples must recognize their communication patterns and the associated emotional triggers, vulnerabilities, and needs to better handle them in future conversations.
Goal of Therapy for Couples
The goal of couples therapy is to improve communication and enhance the quality of the relationship. The therapist helps couples recognize their unhealthy communication patterns and facilitates healthy communication styles.
Learning to communicate better serves to improve trust, emotional intimacy, and respect between partners. During couples therapy, the therapist shifts the focus from blame and attacks to shared responsibility and joint problem-solving.
Couples should engage in active listening, assertiveness, and expressing their feelings honestly and openly. A couples therapist helps to facilitate these essential qualities.
In conclusion, no relationship is perfect, and communication challenges might exist in every relationship. But couples can learn to communicate effectively through practice and supportive guidance from a competent therapist.
When couples are open to making the necessary changes and improvements in their communication style, they can enhance and sustain their relationship while fortifying it in healthier communication habits. In conclusion, effective communication is the key to building a healthy and sustainable relationship.
Couples must recognize and understand the different communication styles that exist, such as assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, submissive, and manipulative communication. Utilizing healthy communication approaches, like the XYZ statement and actively listening to one another, is essential in reducing conflict, building trust, and enhancing emotional intimacy.
When couples have challenges communicating effectively, seeking the help of a qualified couples therapist can serve as a vital step in improving their relationships’ quality. Developing healthier communication patterns through the guidance of therapists and active practice provides an opportunity for couples to communicate more effectively, respect each other’s opinions, and maintain healthy relationships.