Many times I have discussed the value of effective communication. Having worked with couples in intimate relationships for over twenty-five years, it is my passionate belief that the way we communicate with ourselves, and others, ultimately determines the overall quality of our lives! No where is effective communication more important than in our intimate relationships; yet, it is still a struggle for many of us.
There are times when we absolutely unequivocally believe we communicated our message to our partner – only to end up in a never-ending battle that I refer to as the: “he said/she said” scenario. This battle gets played out something like this. One partner says: “I told you about that” (whatever “that” may be) to which the other partner responds: “No you didn’t”. Then the other partner responds back: “Yes I did”. “No – you did not”. “Yes – I most certainly did”. Well … you get the point.
What is going on for couples engaged in this type of communication battle is the fact that although words might have been exchanged – no message was ever communicated! In other words, just because we say something to each other, it does not mean we have communicated anything.
These couples are forgetting to use the #1 secret needed for effective communication!
People tend to forget that in order to have effective communication between people – especially between two people engaged in an intimate relationship – the #1 communication skill that must be employed is the art of listening.
No matter how eloquently we might speak, no matter how dramatic our speech, or the tone of our voice or even the art of diplomacy and level of sensitivity we use when trying to communicate with our partner, our communication will fall on deaf ears if nobody is listening to us!
The art of listening involves listening to what is being said without any preconceived notions or what I often refer to as “hidden agendas”. Listen for the message the speaker is trying to convey – and not for the message you want to hear.
The art of listening involves listening without any agenda on your part. In other words, listen with an open mind and an open heart. Listen with the intention of trying to understand – not persuade! Many times we listen from a defensive posture; we listen with a hidden agenda of trying to find fault in the content of the information being provided. And many times we listen with the intention of finding ways to disagree with the information being provided. When we do this type of listening we are listening with an ear for “catching” the speakers’ mistake on an issue. This is a far cry from listening with an open heart and an open mind.
The next time you are trying to effectively communicate with your partner, be certain you bring the #1 secret for effective communication to the dialogue. Whether you are the sender or receiver of your message – no effective communication is heard if the art of listening is not employed. It insures both parties are heard and clearly understood.
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann