Do you know your partner's communication style? Many say yes, but most couples argue because they are not listening to how their partner is expressing him or herself because all they hear is the content and not the process of what they are feeling.
Interpersonal communication is just as much about body language as well as verbal language. As you and your partner exchange in conversation, what do you notice? Many relationships have fallen apart because one of you misinterprets the communication from the other. If you both learned to be more aware of how each of you express thoughts and feelings there would be less hurt and less confusion.
Communication is a learned skill, originating from the family you grew up in. If your partner does not communicate in the style you do, or may be familiar with, take a look at his or her family when all of you get together. Or ask your partner how everyone in his or her family communicates among each other. Perhaps much of the communication was transmitted through either sarcasm, or backhanded compliments, masking vulnerability. Or communication was dramatic, everything was a federal case laced in alarm and urgency, whether it was the tragic news of a car accident or a favorite sweater with a pulled piece of yarn. Having the attention and being heard came through like an Italian Opera. Or do you notice if his family lacks the ability to communication at all? They speak to each other as though they are regular customers at the local deli, not family members. “How are you?” Good,” “And you.” “Good” and that’s the extent of it for pretty much the rest of the holiday meal. Investigative reporters, they will never be.
Here is an exercise: It’s known as “Speaker/Listener”. When you have something to say that needs to be heard, say it to your partner, and then have your partner repeat back to you even paraphrase if necessary, just as long as what you said has been fully understood. Don’t take it personally, the lesson here is learning how you deliver your message and how it is received. It takes time to develop communication between people effectively.
Whichever the style you communicate and the style your partner communicates, will determine staying power. So if this means both of you develop a complimentary style to express, listen, speak and be heard, then develop it soon, or the words you say, will be your last.