Verbal Communication for couples is a skill most people need to learn. What do you do when your spouse or partner comes to you with a bright idea? It could mean a total life change, career change or move to another location. How do you decide what to do as a couple? Decision making as a couple is a skill you will need to have.
Suppose you disagree and you’re not on board with the idea. What then? Do you have the verbal communication skill to weather that storm. This can be very hard to do. When your partner brings something to you can you handle it.
This can both ways. This could be a great career opportunity for you, but would mean a detriment to your partner’s career. Suppose you found a piece of property that was everything you’ve always wanted to have, but it’s in another state and your partner’s family and everything they’ve grown up with is here and they don’t want to leave. If it’s something your partner wants and feels passionately about, should you just give in or sacrifice what you want to make them happy? You may do that, and may even end up happy or you may end up resenting it further down the road. If that’s a chance you’re willing to take, then you must bear the responsibility for the decision.
The question that comes up for couples is not always straightforward. Is there a fair and equitable way for both of you to agree without a battle? I believe there is, and the process for making this happen is something that should begin early in your relationship. You and your partner need to have this process in place early on so that when you are faced with the big decisions, you will know what to do.
Decision- making as a couple has to be looked at as a “We” issue, not me vs. you. When you are weighing the consequences of a big decision, it not only affects you and your partner, it also affects your children if you have them. The “We” is the family. You and your partner have to be in agreement that each decision you’re faced with looks at the impact on the family in the short and the long-term. Having the verbal communication skills is paramount to maintain healthy relationships.
For example: You and your partner might want to sell your big house and relocate to another area. You’re both in agreement, but you decide to postpone the move until your youngest child graduates and goes off to college. The end result is the same, but the timeline changes. The two of you being able to sit down and reason out the implications of a life-changing decision without being in opposition is crucial to success in both of you being satisfied with the outcome.
There may be times when you absolutely cannot agree, so you should table the issue and not make the decision until you can reason it out together. Some people need to “sleep on” things and consider them for a while before deciding. This is a wise course of action. Each of you can present your case to one another, in writing if it helps you be clear about it. Give yourselves some time to discuss it then take some time to consider it with an agreed upon date and time to come back and talk it over again. Both of you must commit to considering with an open mind what the other wants and has to say.
It’s very possible that one of you might come around to the other’s way of thinking if you take some time to mull it over. If you can’t agree even after this time of consideration the answer would be “no. You can revisit the issue at a later date and time if you still feel passionately about it, but no nagging or haranguing of your partner is going to change their mind. Often you need to take things slowly no one issue should ever more important than the two of you having a healthy relationships. Your verbal communication with one another needs to always be loving and encouraging.
This process works for everything from changing the drapes to acquiring a family pet to large financial commitments and job and house changes. The two of you making decision in unity and trust is the best way to handle decision-making as a couple.
When you’re feeling stuck on a subject, you can’t move forward with your partner. When you feel like there’s been a communication breakdown and you’re not sure how to proceed, there are some strategies you can employ to help break the logjam and get the conversation moving again in a positive direction.
Be mindful that verbal communication breakdowns happen even to the closest of couples. It doesn’t mean you’re in trouble necessarily if you can manage your communication breakdown and not let it become an ongoing problem between you and your partner.
Here are some dos and don’ts:
- Raise your voice or get sarcastic -Tone of voice and volume can make a world of difference to your communication breakdown. Approach the subject with a sincere and loving tone and you will get much better results.
- Bring up the past – keeping score and reminding your partner of past hurts or transgressions will not help you in the moment. It will only serve to further drive a wedge between you and your partner. Focus on the topic at hand, and how to find a solution that you both can live with.
- Give your partner a cold shoulder or silent treatment – Communication breakdowns require better communication, not silence. If you are feeling tempted to withdraw, tell your partner that you DO want to continue the discussion and find the solution, but if you’re at loggerheads and neither of you will give or compromise, it’s going to be hard. Isolating yourself will only make it worse.
- Make it personal. You’ll only escalate the issue by blaming, name calling or making it personal. Make it about the situation not the person and you’ll have a much easier time sorting out the problem.
- Take a step back, breathe and calm down. If you’re feeling too agitated or angry to continue the discussion, make an arrangement to get back together when you’re both feeling more able to manage your emotional state. Let your partner know that you sincerely want to resolve this, but you feel there’s been a communication breakdown and nothing is being accomplished the way things are going. Make an appointment if you need to, and show up on time to indicate to your partner that you’re sincere in your desire to resolve the problem.
- Act in loving and kind ways even if you’re not really feeling it in the moment. Your partner deserves the best from you even when there’s been a problem. You don’t have to argue or fight. You can authentically and vulnerably tell each other how you are feeling and what’s at the bottom of the issue that’s causing so much trouble between you. If you try, you can find a solution that works for both of you. You may not be able to be right, but you will both be able to be kind and loving to each other which is better.
- Remember that this is your partner, your best friend and your lover. This puts your difficulties into a better perspective and motivates you to work on a solution.
- Bring in an unbiased third party to mediate if you can’t reach an agreement. It works in business and it will work in your relationship. A professional counselor, a clergyman, or an elder you both trust and respect are all great choices to help you resolve what seems to be a communication breakdown between you. Don’t be afraid to compromise and do remember to treat each other with love and respect always.