Do you ever find yourself frustrated when you try to work something out with your partner? I know I sure do. The Official Sweetie Pie and I have excellent communication but still, some days we just do not speak the same language. On one of the last times The Official Sweetie Pie (TOSP) and I attempted to work something out, I spoke in “emotion-ease” – I’m feeling frustrated! I feel as if you just don’t care! – and he spoke in “logic-ease” – You just said a double-negative, I don’t get it. I don’t understand you: you are talking in circles. Or, frequently TOSP says to me “You are throwing too many concepts my way. I can’t process any of them.” My response to this is usually a black cloud over my head followed by a thought something like I’ll show you what it feels like when I throw a concept! I don’t say those kinds of things, but I think them!
In the past, I’ve had boyfriends or partners for whom an interpreter was required. I’m sure the feeling was mutual. “What did he say?” “What did she say?” I’d run off to a beloved girlfriend to try to figure out the essence of what was being said. Thankfully, I do not need an interpreter any more. TOSP and I do pretty well at getting ourselves “heard” – it may take more than one try, but perseverance and a commitment to resolution always wins in the end.
Like me, you probably know all the “preferred techniques” for communication. Here are some of the things that don’t work:
- Questions that can’t be answered like “Why did you do that?” My answer is usually, “Uh, I don’t know.” His response to that kind of question is a patient explanation which I tune out.
- Blame or “you” statements: You did this to me or you did that to me!! Never works. My response is usually inner swearing and outer defensiveness. His response is usually a blank stare.
- Whipping out the record book, i.e. “On such and such day, you did the exact same thing.” Or, it might be vague, “You always do this,” or “You never do this.” I can guarantee you I am not that consistent to always do things or never do things.
With TOSP, I’ve learned much better ways of communication. We tend to avoid “always” and “never” statements; we speak in “I” statements for the most part; and we try to remain calm to discuss an issue. Since neither of us has much patience, this last one is sometimes challenging but the times I can take a deep breath, lower my voice and proceed, the better the communication. TOSP excels in listening and often has an open heart for issues I think he will be infuriated by, based on past experience with other men. TOSP tends to surprise me by just listening. And, as I mentioned in this article, we practice lots of love and care between issues – giving compliments, praising, general adoration and things like that help us keep the love a’ flowing.
My dear friends Orv and Maeve Fry teach good communication skills. They’ve also written a short piece on communication here. Learning how to communicate is a great way to learn how to keep the fires of love alive in your relationships.