Yep ... you're probably guilty, too.
One of the most puzzling human experiences is the universal inability to clearly communicate with one another. Amazon has 854,433 books on the topic of communication, so obviously miscommunication is not due to a lack of information. Rather, miscommunication is due to lack of implementation. Communication is an art, a discipline, a technique to be learned and a skill to develop – and it requires ongoing practice while in a relationship. There’s always room for improvement and growth.
Here are some mistakes you are making when trying to communicate in your marriage:
1. You try to please him too much
If you’re too agreeable in the beginning, you’ll resent him in the end. During the beginning stages of a relationship, women who have the tendency to be pleasers will gloss over issues and comply to their partner’s whims and wishes without consideration of their own desires and dreams.
The eventual result of avoiding conflict is bitterness, disappointment and deep seated anger. At some point in the future you will erupt – much to the surprise of your partner!
2. You make assumptions
Misunderstandings arise when one partner formulates a presumption about the other’s point of view. Whether based on past history or unresolved issues, being presumptuous can be a real mood-killer.
Instead of trying to anticipate what he’ll say, try to consider what your partner is actually trying to say before leap into fixing things.
3. You’re ignoring him
All communication stems from a deep desire to connect to each other. When an attempt to connect is ignored or returned with harshness, this results in what John Gottman, a psychologist and researcher from the University of Washington, calls "rejected bids".
According to Gottman, rejected bids may be one reason for marital conflict. Humanity has a deep desire to connect and we reach out to offer a "bid" of connection, and then the "bid" is either accepted or rejected. Humans need 85% of accepted bids in order to feel connected. Do you ignore bids of connection because you’re distracted by smartphones, iPads, and other electronics?
How do you respond to the bids – with warmth and a smile or with a sneer and a smirk?
4. You’re not saying what you mean
What we say and what we hear affects the neural pathways of our brains. We are wired to be in alignment and to have congruence – this means that everything we see, do, hear, feel and know must be true in mind, body, spirit. If what we say isn’t congruent with how we feel, it will confuse those around us and eventually confuse ourselves.
Try this experiment: put your face into an angry expression, clench your teeth and jaw and say, "I am so happy". Hard to do, right? Now reverse your expression. Smile with your eyes and mouth and say, "I am so angry". Your brain is saying to you, "this does not compute, your words and expression do not match".
Some people have actually confused their brain because they walk around with smiles that don’t match their negative feelings. How can you become true to yourself and others through learning better communication skills that are in alignment? Now can you begin to take responsibility in developing a new pattern of congruent communication with your partner.
If you would like to learn more and practice your skills, sign up for the Communicate with Clarity webinar.