Relationships get better when couples learn how to speak their own language - a language that works for them as a couple. Unfortunately, gaps in communication can lead to unresolved conflict, discontentment, resentment and, gone unbridged, may be the cause that ultimately ends the relationship - though a particular issue may be named as the culprit.
Effective communication creates understanding. Understanding creates opportunities for resolution of issues, decision-making, co-creation and can evoke compassion or empathy for needed acceptance and accommodation. But being able to bridge that gap to effective communication is not an easy task in a lot of cases. The formula for success in creating your own language is to continue to approach things from different angles until you find something that works for the two of you. Get innovative!
Confusion in effective communication often starts with the thought that if two people speak the same language (i.e English, Spanish, Japanese, etc.), then they should understand what the other is saying. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. In fact, especially with couple relationships, there is so much more in the mix to consider. To cloud things up even further, are interpretations of tone usage, body language and gestures that can be mistranslated.
Below are some common barriers that create communication gaps worth considering for your own understanding, followed by suggestions for bridging the gaps to eliminate some of those time-wasting, frustrating discussions that lead to nowhere fast, and instead create the language that is yours.
Common Barriers to Effective Communication
In the heterosexual relationship, the couple obviously realizes that men and women are not the same. We're different creatures in many ways. Many aspects of the gender differences are greatly appreciated, while others are not at all. Communication is sometimes at the top of the list of the latter. Being so different in how we communicate is just the first of many barriers you may be experiencing in your communication with each other.
There are also differences when the couple has grown up within different cultures or sub cultures. Whether it be socio-economic, racial or religious, each poses differences in meanings and values in and of things, creating more to contend with in effective communication.
Each brings in all of the baggage of any past relationships, and influences and habits of your family upbringing, which has created individual filters to communication. Filters may include a bias or an expectation projected onto the other from past experiences.
At some point, the inability to effectively communicate on particular topics or issues may result in repetition of the same, ineffective communication - over and over. This happens because one or both of you don't know how to express what you're actually trying to get across any differently - in a way that s/he can really understand the message. When this happens, the biggest barrier occurs: one or both of you stop listening. This can be a difficult barrier to identify at first, because you both keep going through the motions of talking at each other - which is pointless.
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