Communication is so important in a relationship. It’s the way we express our needs and wants to our partner. But sometimes, the message doesn’t get delivered because
a) It doesn’t get communicated
b) The way it gets communicated isn’t right
I could write a whole series on communication just by itself. But in today’s article I just want to focus on a few communication patterns that I see a lot (and that I’ve gotten stuck in myself!)
Communication Breakdown 1: You don’t address the issue when it happens then blow up later over a minor issue and bring up EEEEEVERYTHING you don’t like in one conversation (flooding).
You may think you’re being patient by letting it go (and maybe you are!). But you can be patient and STILL have a calm conversation about it. The reality is, if it’s bothering you, it won’t get better with time. You have to just address it and resolve it.
When you flood your partner, it’s going to feel like an attack and their first reaction will be to defend themselves by a) blaming you or b) shutting you out completely. Neither of those helps the relationship. The best way to resolve an issue at its root is to focus on one issue at a time instead of throwing everything out in one conversation.
2. Communication Breakdown 2: The blame game.
This one is so common. Your partner tells you something they don’t like. You don’t even take time to think whether they have a valid point or not-you just get defensive and find something wrong that they do. You figure “Shoot, you wanna bring that up? I got stuff on you to bring up too!”
Spoiler alert-no one wins the blame game. You’ll go back and forth, and the disagreement will get bigger because each person is getting more and more offended when stuff is brought back from the past.
Not only that, but it shows that your ego is more important to you than resolving issues. You’re not perfect; everyone has stuff they need to work on. Instead of getting offended when your partner points out your mistakes or flaws, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Your relationship, your love is the most important thing. Be open to making adjustments and growing for the sake of the bigger picture-loving your spouse.
3.Communication Breakdown 3: You shut down.
In this one, you simply don’t want to talk about it. Maybe you don’t know how to; it may feel uncomfortable or bring up memories and emotions you’d rather not deal with. So you act like it doesn’t exist. But that only gives the problem more power over you and your relationship. It becomes a weed that starts to suck the life out of the good, happy aspects of your relationship.
Stuff that doesn’t get repaired just gets more damaged. You may not see it at first. Your partner may do a great job of hiding their hurt and disappointment. But sooner or later, it will all come crashing down, because you didn’t want to talk about it and your partner got tired of pretending and waiting.
One of the reasons why people (especially men) find it so hard to communicate certain things is that communication requires VULNERABILITY. A lot of people are just not comfortable with the idea of letting someone see them in that light. Our society doesn’t make it better either. Men are expected to be “strong” and anything that involves admitting weakness (I have a problem with…..or I struggle with…..) is extremely difficult.
Someone has to take the first step in being vulnerable. Until a change is made, communication patterns will continue. The good news is, all you need to do is focus on making one small change at a time. Understanding the deeper desires behind the conflict will help you see your spouse’s vulnerability. Hopefully, in time, they’ll feel more comfortable being vulnerable during this conversation too.