I was reflecting this morning on how often couples say that they don’t feel confident in communicating with each other – particularly about issues that bother them. I commonly hear couples say that if they were to say how they really felt, or if they were to try to sit down and discuss a problem, an argument or conflict would be inevitable.
Which means that either they don’t trust themselves as individuals to be able to deliver their message effectively and respectfully, or they don’t trust their partner to be able to receive it openly and calmly. Or both.
I was out walking my dog, Theo, again this morning, and I noticed how many different types of interactions we have with other dogs that we meet. Some seem to feel threatened by Theo’s presence (he is a large dog and often small dogs find that intimidating), and bark at him from a distance. Some dogs are more curious and approach but with caution, seeming very unsure, and if Theo makes a move towards them to initiate play, they will initially bark or growl and move away, and then come back again tentatively in an attempt to work out whether they want to engage with him or not. Sometimes when they get near to Theo they will stop short, bow down on their front paws and roll over on to their sides in front of him to demonstrate their submission, telling him they are no threat. Theo himself is so friendly and full of energy and often finds that hard to contain. Desperate to play, I can see him trying to work out how to respond to these different types of approaches.
But there are some dogs that whenever they see Theo, come running over with joy and approach with confidence, and both dogs immediately relax and greet each other or play. Both dogs stay calm and confident.
I think that similarly, when we approach our partner to discuss an issue, the energy we give off can significantly affect the outcome. If we are feeling angry, upset, irritated, frustrated, often this will come across in our delivery. Which can yield a less than positive response in our partner. This can lead to conflict which can reinforce our belief that addressing issues will make things worse.
It’s not to say that when you approach our partner to discuss an issue, that you should deny, or ignore, or bottle up all those negative feelings. You can absolutely discuss them and tell your partner how you feel. But if you can do that in an effective and respectful way, your partner’s response will be a lot calmer and much more positive. Over time your confidence will increase as you begin to experience a more positive outcome when discussing your issues.
This will mean that you will approach your partner, and they you, with a lot more confidence.
If you expect conflict, you are more likely to receive it. But if you expect calm resolution and openness, you are likely to receive this instead.
If you would like further information on how to communicate effectively, I would be delighted to share my Communication Guide for Couples with you! Just CLICK HERE for your free e-guide download, share this with your partner, and go from fear of conflict and uncertainty, to being a calm and confident communicator by using the key principles of effective communication.
And post your comment below if any of this resonates with you – I would love to hear from you!
Take care for now!