Couples: please STOP doing this!

Whether we think of the global climate, weather systems, the changing of the seasons, the moon cycles and tides, cellular & microscopic changes within our own bodies – the one thing that runs through all of these transformations – is communication.

Nature creates the most enormous changes with constant and subtle communication with itself and all its components. We can’t always see this communication taking place and yet we feel its extremely powerful effects. And they are truly awesome!

As humans we have the additional gift of language. This means that we have the ability to speak, gesture, and act, to convey our messages to those around us. We are the part of Nature that has an overt voice. What an extraordinary gift!

We have the ability to be as creative as we like with that communication – telling stories, through art, dancing, metaphor, sign language, facial expression, poetry, to name but a few.

So why we communicate our issues with our partner by TEXT! Or Whatsapp, or Facebook, and so on?

With only 7% of communication actually being verbal, that leaves 93% of the message not being delivered/heard! And in fact, I wonder if it’s even less than that, because instant messaging is not actually even verbal, and is often, by its design, a shortened version of a message that even if sent by letter would contain much more information. That leaves a massive space wide open for misinterpretation.

I’m not talking necessarily about those everyday text messages where you ask your partner to pick up some milk on the way home, or the sharing of small pieces of information. I’m talking about those furious text exchanges that go on all day and night, both of you getting angrier, or more upset. I have actually known couples to text each other like this when they are in the same room!

Do you do this with your partner? Do you find yourself analysing everything in those texts, from guessing at double-meanings, wondering about whether your partner is being sarcastic, wondering why the last text was so “short”, or why there were less kisses this time?

I know that modern culture has meant that texting and instant messaging has become a normal and accepted means of communication. But I have never seen it resolve conflict compassionately and constructively.

When we are feeling emotionally aroused and angry, our brains stop us from thinking rationally, because we go into survival mode. This makes it already very difficult in relationships for us both to take each others’ points of view on board. So if we are arguing by text, in the heat of the moment, not only are we not thinking rationally, but we are communicating in a way that is highly likely to be mis-interpreted by our partners. And those texts have a way of sticking around. We can keep them forever if you want to and bring them up months later as “evidence” to prove a point.

Nothing can replace good, old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. As humans we are designed to connect with each other directly. That’s why all those lovely hormones and chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine flood our system when we connect with our partner in a positive way, making a relationship a beautiful experience.

So next time you get into a heated text exchange with your partner, recognise it is happening, and simply stop doing it! Agree that you will discuss things later when you are both face to face.

And if you want my help to do that, click HERE to download my FREE Couples Communication Guide which gives you the key communication skills and principles to resolve conflict constructively.

And never forget – if you tend to and maintain your relationship, you can make it thrive!

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