Love, Self

Doing This One Thing Can Prevent Every Fight In Your Relationship

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How To Improve Communication Skills & Build Trust In A Relationship Or Marriage

Learning how to improve communication skills and build trust in your relationship or marriage is crucial.

Trust issues in a relationship or marriage can spell disaster for the couple involved.

When arguments pop up, couples in healthy relationships have a certain level of trust and communication that allows them to find a solution and come to a truce. 

RELATED: 6 Communication Mistakes Couples Make In Arguments (And How To Fix Them)

Take this example of a married couple (which is probably a common scenario in many marriages).

The wife is furious. Her husband put all her clothes in the dryer and her delicates do not go in the dryer.

But, she didn’t go crazy yelling at him.

Instead, she gave him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t do it on purpose and trusted that it wasn’t intentional.

It still upset her, but her reaction was different from how she used to respond.

In the past, she’d yell, "You did this?! You don’t care about me! Why would you do this? You destroyed my clothes, what’s wrong with you!!"

Those angry outbursts would set off an argument between them that could last for hours.

She never heard his apology and it put him in a position to defend a mistake he made, unintentionally.

She was right, though. She told him many times that certain items don't go in the dryer; they get hung on hangers to dry.

Her husband made a mistake, a careless and unfortunate mistake.

But that’s all it was. His actions weren’t because he didn’t care about her or because he wanted to mess up her wardrobe.

For whatever the reason, it happened. 

This time around, she didn’t start an argument or draw any negative conclusions as to why he put her clothes in the dryer.

She told him that the situation upset her. She knew he was trying to be helpful and didn’t do it on purpose.

She said, "I’m not happy. I’m disappointed and I’m upset, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that it wasn’t done on purpose to hurt me."

RELATED: 10 Tips For Communicating With Your Partner When You’re Really Mad At Them

By not personalizing her husband’s mistake or automatically yelling at him, she could see that he felt terrible.

And because he didn’t feel attacked, they could now talk about it, instead of arguing.

Even though her delicates took a hit, she gave him the benefit of the doubt and trusted that his intentions were not to cause harm.

She saw the situation from a different perspective.

Now, take that example and replace the act of putting clothes in the dryer with every other situation where we disappoint each other in our significant relationships — both at home and at work.

The list is endless.

From simple actions that turn out to be missteps (such as being late to an important dinner or not completing a project on time) to verbal misunderstandings where we are unintentionally hurtful because of a difference of opinion, the loud volume of our voice, or our apparent condescending tone.  

In this way, you not only improve your communication skills but you also learn how to build trust in the relationship.

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt means you will try to let go of the hurt or upset to move forward.

You are saying, "I believe you when you apologize for unintentionally hurting me" or "I want to believe you, and so I will give you the benefit of the doubt."

When faced with conflicts or problems, the benefit of the doubt helps trust grow and relationships to stay on a more positive, hopeful track, instead of getting stuck in untrusting, negative ways of communicating.

The next time you are hurt or upset, try to "hit the pause button" and take a moment to think before reacting.

Then make a conscious decision to trust the other person’s intentions. Your response will most likely be calmer and more thoughtful.

Remember, she didn’t yell at her husband for putting her clothes in the dryer and they didn’t have an argument because this time, she believed him, even before he apologized.

She gave him the benefit of the doubt and trusted his intentions and that made all the difference!

Try it!

RELATED: 6 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills For A Relationship Filled With Love & Intimacy (That Will Make Your Friends Jealous)

Debra Roberts, LCSW is an author, a relationship expert and a communication specialist who teaches people how to talk to each other in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. Debra’s book, The Relationship Protocol, describes her practical, real-life approach for how to have healthier relationships, make immediate connections, defuse conflicts and communicate effectively. To learn more and to join Debra's mailing list, sign up at her website, The Relationship Protocol.

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