We all know that the key to a healthy marriage is communication.
However, sometimes we don’t know how to communicate.
This occurs when we observe unhealthy communication skills from our parents, or have experiences that teach us that communication skills are not important. Whatever the case, if we can’t master the ability to communicate, we will never truly get the best out of our relationships.
Here are four communication blockers that you may be doing to sabotage your relationship.
Judging. Believe it or not, most conflicts don’t reside on either side of the pendulum,. Most conflicts reside… most likely, right… smack… in the middle… but the human part of us, typically does not see that and classifies these conflicts on either side. This looks like “black or white” and “right or wrong.” When we classify our differences, this means that we are placing a judgment or value on something.
For instance, let’s assume your husband does not want to go to your family reunion. In response to him not wanting to go, this provokes a fight between you two. The fight is likely motivated by the fact that you think it’s wrong for him not to want to go. Your husband knows, however, that if he does go, he’s going to feel left out and disrespected by your family members. Unfortunately, by placing a value on his decision, you overlook the fact that if you truly loved your husband, you would not want him to be in a situation where he was being respected your family members. You get so fixated on judging his decision, that you miss the bigger picture. If you learn to judge less, and listen more, you can communicate better with your partner.
Insulting. This is never OK, and honestly, quite childish. When you have to insult your significant other in order to get your point across, you add more fuel to an already burning fire. Neither one of you can understand the root cause of the frustration, because the focus of the conflict turns to whatever insults you are hauling at one another. Insults include things like name-calling, throwing sensitive information back up in your significant others face, and withholding affection from your partner. If you want your relationship to grow, this is a practice that you don’t want to implement, because it almost always tears couples apart.
Globalizing. This serves as a communication blocker, because it overlooks the unique elements of whatever is going on in your relationship, and instead highlights everything that has ever happened to you. While it can be healthy to make sure that you learn from your mistakes and remember past experiences, it becomes problematic when you live exclusively through your past. In other words, if your partner has made mistakes, which we all do, if you choose to stay, you have to learn to overlook them. There’s simply no way that you can begin the process of connecting to one another, and growing, if you consistently hold on to all the bad things that has occurred and globalize bad behavior.
Changing the Subject. This often happens when one partner presents a concern, and the other person reminds them of areas where they have failed. This prevents the person who initially introduced the concern from their ability to express the agreements in a healthy manner so that it could get solved. This is also known as deflecting, and looks like this: your partner may confront you for not doing the dishes, and you remind him that he did not do the laundry. By deflecting the subject away from your partners concern, you are not allowing your partner to focus on their concern, and it becomes confrontational and combative. When this happens, nothing gets solved. The purpose of your partner presenting their concerns to you is because there was a legitimate issue that needed to be addressed. If you change the subject, there’s a likelihood that neither of your concerns will be met and it creates room for resentment.
Relationships are so tough. But if you use any of these communication blockers on a regular basis, you’re making your relationship tougher. Take a moment, and honestly review what communication blockers you and/or your partner hold. Then consider how you will communicate better with your partner. If your partner is not ready to do the same, continue to do the best that you can as you can only be accountable for yourself.
If you would like some assistance with improving your communication with your partner, please contact one of our therapists today.