Dr. Romance offers guidelines for understanding and being understood.
- Seek first to understand. If you know your partner's frame of reference, you can speak to him/her within it.
- Pay attention to how your words are landing. If your companion's response looks off the mark for what you said, check out what he/she is hearing....
- Focus on the solution that would work for everyone, rather than who's right or wrong. Only focus on the problem long enough to understand, then switch to what will fix it.
- Separate emotion from solution. If one or both of you are upset, irrational or reactive, you aren't communicating. Take a break and try again in a few minutes, when both of you have calmed down.
- Don't beat dead horses. If you've been over the same ground several times with no forward movement, get some help. An objective third party can work wonders.
- Be nice. Strive to create a cooperative atmosphere, and consider your partner’s feelings.
Just remember the old saying "You can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes". Don't just automatically start fights when things dont go your way — thats what children do! Whenever you get the urge to fight with your partner, just take a deep breath and try to understand. Follow these guidelines and your relationship will become much stronger and healthier!
This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission from the author.