This week, I’ve been talking about how difficult it can be for couples to be really honest with each other about how they feel.
Bottling feelings up can lead to all sorts of problems in your relationship.
Whereas being able to speak honestly with your partner can actually bring you closer together.
BUT……to prevent conflict from escalating into an argument, or hurt feelings, it has to be done in the right way – compassionately, openly, and respectfully.
So in this post, I want to give you a really simple, 3-step technique, which can make a huge difference in how your partner receives your message.
Ready? Here goes!
- Be FACTUAL – Be very specific about the behaviour that bothers you. Being vague can be unhelpful, and can start to feel like a general complaint which can lead to your partner feeling defensive. It also means that you are being very clear about what bothers you – which is essential if you want your partner to change it! Being factual also means your partner is less likely to deny that they behaved in that way or said what they said.
- FEELINGS – State your actual feeling that you had in response to their behaviour. Are you angry/sad/hurt/jealous? Always start your sentences with “I”, rather than “You”. This demonstrates to your partner that you are taking responsibility for your own feelings, rather than blaming them for your feelings. For example, “I feel hurt” as opposed to “You hurt me”.
- FAIR REQUESTS – It’s no good saying how you feel about your partner’s behaviour if you don’t tell them what you want to be different. If you don’t tell your partner what you want from them instead, it will just feel like a criticicsm, or like “nagging”. It’s actually very helpful for your partner to be very clear about what you want or expect, so that they know what they can do about it.
So, as a simple example:-
“I notice that you didn’t take the bins out this evening, even though I asked you to this morning (FACT). I feel angry because I feel unheard (FEELINGS). I would really appreciate it if next week, you set a reminder on your phone to take the bins out (FAIR REQUEST).”
Try practising this method with your partner with really simple, less significant things at first, until you get used to comuunicating in this way. When you feel ready, you might want to use this method to begin to talk about some of the deeper, more important feelings you may have.
If you haven’t yet, click here to download my FREE Communication Guide for Couples, which gives even more help and advice on how to improve the communication in your relationship:-
Of course, there are some things in our relationships that even with this method, we need extra help and guidance with. And that’s where Relationship Coaching can really help you.
If you struggle with the communication in your relationship, and don’t know how to resolve these issues alone, there are a number of ways that I can help you. Don’t just try and push through alone. After all, you’d take your car for a service if you felt there was something wrong. So why not get help for the most important relationship in your life?
Contact me by clicking the link below and let me know what you need help with. I will respond with the best way I think I can help you.
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