Instead of uttering a reminder-- again-- explore your mistrust. Is it coming from the past (an experience with your partner or with someone else) or is it coming from your beliefs that he or she is incapable or unwilling to do this thing? The impulse to nag eases when you take care of the emotions underneath.
The fast pace of our culture has made many of us so impatient! This leads to rushed conversations where one person (or both) interrupts. Perhaps you interrupt because you’re so excited about a thought that just occurred to you or maybe you interrupt because you’re worried you won’t have a chance to say what you need to say if you don’t.
Either of these may be true, but they don’t support healthy communication or your relationship. When you interrupt, you show that you aren’t really listening or that you don’t care that much about what your partner is sharing. This might not be your intent, but it’s how interrupting feels on the receiving end.
Recognize it when you cut off your partner mid-sentence. Stop and apologize. Take a deep breath, slow down and really focus in on what your partner has to say. If you believe you aren’t getting a chance to talk, ask your partner to give you more opportunities to talk in the conversation.
When your partner comes home after having yet another power struggle with his boss and you are sure you know what will resolve this never-ending misery for him...wait. Your impulse may be to launch into your solution to this problem, but it might hurt far more than it helps.
When you try to fix-- a situation or one of your partner’s flaws-- you send out another “I don’t trust you” message. Even if you believe you are coming from a place of concern and love, it can feel to your partner like an attempt to control and dominate. Meet your partner’s tale of frustration or woe with a question like, “How can I support you?” or “Are you open to hearing a suggestion from me now?” Honor his or her reply.
This communication habit happens first in your mind. It occurs when you “read between the lines” or “interpret” what your partner has said for the “real meaning" and then react to what you assume, instead of to what was actually said.
We all make assumptions, so the key here is to realize what you’re doing and to re-focus yourself on the facts-- the literal words your partner said. Many, many misunderstandings and disappointments can be avoided when you stop operating as if your assumptions are true. If you’re confused ask, “Please help me understand...”
Who says communication with understanding, clarity, compassion and love has to be difficult?! In Magic Relationship Words, we’ve put together powerful words, phrases and sentence-starters that can be used to talk about even the most sensitive subjects with your partner and still keep your connection strong. Find the right words to say at www.magicrelationshipwords.com