(Closed) How do you keep communication clear, open, and honest with your SO?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
580 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Everyone will recommend this:

The Five Love Languages.

And for the rest, I’ll let you know once I work it out!

Post # 4
Member
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I think my Darling Husband and I communicate very well, although I don’t really have a book or blog to thank for it. Mostly I think it was learned from experience (both my parents and grandparents have great relationships) and from law school (where I specialized in alternative dispute resolution— which honestly has come in handy in my personal life! lol). 

Some general tips: 

1) Try to determine what is really important to you. Don’t turn every little thing that annoys you into a discussion or it can quickly feel like nagging. I think we as women are just easily annoyed and I really have to keep myself in check and realize that things like a dirty counter or a late-returned email are just not worth fighting over. On the flip side– don’t be afraid to stand up for what IS important. Things like household chores are worth fighting over to me, because I think that these agreements have a lot of impact on our future roles/relationships. Also, how we speak to each other is important to me. So these are the things I will absolutely pursue even if it means fighting. 

2) Use a lot of I-statements instead of You-statements. Example: It really hurt my feelings when you assumed that I would unload the dishwasher because it makes me feel like you expect me to be betty home-maker rather than an equal partner in our relationship. RATHER THAN You are an asshole because you always expect ME to unload the dishwasher!

3) Along with number 2, watch tone and language. Never name call. Try not to yell. Take a break if things get escalated. 

4) Care enough to finish the fight. It is soooo tempting to just say “whatever” and leave a problem unresolved because a fight isn’t going anywhere. Don’t give in. Keep talking until you are both happy. We have never had a problem we didn’t resolve to both of our satisfaction. 

Post # 5
Member
1152 posts
Bumble bee

@Mrs.SleepyKitty:  Ditto. It’s the #1 book on relationships, used all over the world in marriage and family therapy. It gave me the ability to form relationships – and has enhanced mine and FI’s more than I can say! Please, please, please read it. You will not regret it. 🙂

The same author (Gary Chapman) also researched and wrote about apologies and conflict-solving. Look up Five Languages of Apology. Fiance and I just barely found it and are digging into it! In the past we’ve had issues with conflict because we’ll apologize until we’re blue in the face and yet it doesn’t seem to affect the other person at all. This book/theory/whatever is already helping us solve that problem!

Post # 6
Member
1152 posts
Bumble bee

@CorgiTales:  Oh, #2 is great. This helps keep conflicts calm. The right “I” statement can diffuse a situation rapidly. The wrong “you” statement can blow it all up.

“I” statement example: “I felt hurt and embarassed when you said that about me in front of my father. Did you really mean that, or did I just misunderstand?”

“You” statement example: “I can’t believe you said that in front of my father. You‘re so insensitive!”

It takes the blame off of the situation, meaning that no one gets defensive or angry!

Also. Another good tactic I’ve heard of – just this morning haha, so I haven’t used it yet – is to ask your man if you can listen to him, rather than saying “We need to talk.” It sets up a much better mood. Example (including an I statement!): “I don’t understand why it’s so important to you that we spend Christmas with your family instead of mine. Can I listen to you explain your side to me?” Sounds cheesy but I hear it works!

Post # 7
Member
9672 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I agree The Five Love Languages is a great book.

Some communication skills that work for us: 

When you disagree – stick to the topic at hand and don’t dredge up the past.

Never threaten the relationship in an argument. 

State your case but be willing to listen to the other person.  Strive to understand.  Don’t give up until you do.  Agree to disagree if necessary.

Don’t expect him to read your mind, or vice-versa.  Be open and honest as much as possible.  But with a filter, lol.

Keep negative emotions in check and stay on the logic/rational side of your brain when you’re upset.  Or revisit the topic after you both calm down.

Once an issue is resolved, let it go.

Post # 8
Member
5963 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

Say what you mean, and mean what you say….no name calling, no threats and no throwing things…both parties have a right to request a time out the length of their choosing, BUT no one leaves the premises until we’re all sorted…work schedule excepted of course.  Previously covered topics are not eligible for argument unless a new infraction has been committed.  Once we’re all hollered out, take a minute to reconnect as a couple and celebrate the fact that healty couples disagree sometimes….it’s not always wedding cake.

Post # 9
Member
2009 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We didn’t read books.  We both happen to be good communicators, but every once in awhile we have an issue.

My advice comes from how we started communicating.  Early in our relationship before we had everything figured out.

1.  Stay calm as best you can. 

2.  Give your partner the chance to speak without interrupting.

3.  Demand that you are heard without interrupting.

4.  Figure out what you really want to say and be able to explain yourself if he has any confusion.

5.  Start small! Lots of chats about little things to get in the habit if expressing yourselves in a healthy way.

Post # 10
Member
2523 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

These suggestions are so wonderful and extremely useful!

The tips I have that I found helped tremendously as I’ve grown in my communications style are:

1. Tone of voice matters just as much as what you are actually say. Studies I’ve read have shown that people actually pay more attention to HOW you say things than to the words you are saying. This is evident in even the way we talk to babies and pets. You can yell at a baby that it’s the cutest thing in the world, but the baby will cry because of your tone. Conversely, if you tell your pet it’s the stupidest dog you’ve ever met but you use a sweet tone, I can guarantee you it will wag its tail.

The same thing goes for adults. We are conditioned to pick up on emotional cues based on tone/facial expression. So keep this in mind when talking with your guy. You may have a legitimate point, but if your tone is wrong, he won’t take it in.

2. Take some time to collect your thoughts before thinking.I’ve found it’s better to take a few quiet moments to gather your thoughts and pin-point what’s REALLY bothering you in an argument rather than letting the mouth run. Once you say something hurtful, you can’t take it back. Sometimes you may think you’re upset because HE did something, but when you think about it, you find that it’s really because YOU are insecure with yourself. And no name calling, yelling. It cheapens communication.

3. Empathize/Apologize.Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, even if you don’t agree. Emotions are crazy things. People are irrational because we carry such intense emotions. This doesn’t make our emotions any less important, but it means that sometimes we will get upset and to others, it’s for no reason! Your partner will do this, too. You might have done something to inadvertently hurt him and you don’t understand it. It’s okay. Put yourself in his shoes as best you can, and apologize for the miscommunication. He will feel like you are considering his needs, and in the future, you will want this from him, too. Of course, some arguments are more serious than others, but still try to see things from his side, too. He might have views you never considered, and vice versa.

4. Let it go.Once you both have gotten your points across and have apologized, let it go. Don’t use it for ammunition in a later argument. It’s done.

Hope this helps. 🙂

Post # 12
Member
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

so…

I have been married almost 20 years.  There are some subjects we Agree to disagree on, and so we don’t discuss them because they will inevidably (sp) turn into arguments.  LOL  IE..

Politics (although we are kind of coming to terms with compromising),

Immigration,

Housework (I do not like the way he does the dishes, but he does them, so he can do them however he wants)… 

Laundry (i dont like the way he does laundry… but he does the laundry and it turns out okay, so he can do Laundry however he wants. 

I don’t like the way he leaves a mess when he cooks, but he cooks, so I clean the mess up. 

I HATE it when he critizes my spending habits, but sometimes I need to be put in check.

I don’t like the way he stands sometimes, kind of a weird stance… I took a photo and showed it to him LOL… he didn’t much like it either, so he changed it.

but honestly…  I let the little things go.  I am sure he lets the little things with me go as well.  I am rewarded greatly with coffee in bed almost every morning, or ice water… 

We have 2 bathrooms, and he allows me to have one as my own!  I call it my hair lair.

I do agree however, try not to blame.  Instead of saying “I don’t like it when YOU do that” maybe you can rephrase it to say “I don’t like it when that happens”.

Anyhow, we are going on 20 years, so we are doing SOMETHING right.  OH! and we also take seperate vacations, he has a circle of friends outside of OUR circle of friends, and vice versa.  He likes to golf, I like to scrapbook, and this helps our relationship ALOT.

When we do vacation together its like wayyyy too much togetherness.  haha  I seriously sometimes need a break after that and will sometimes go for a scrapbooking marathon at my friends house for a night of fun!

So yea, try not to let the little things get to you.  Before you bring up your concerns or whatever, ask yourself… Is this REALLY important?  or is this something that can be let go?  Look at the bigger picture!

LOL…  He is looking over my shoulder and said …  WE HAVE A DISHWASHER, WHY ARE  YOU TRYING TO START SHtuff, but he didn’t say shtuff, and now we are pretend arguing.

 

 

Post # 13
Member
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think I am pretty lucky because we pretty much agree on most things. And the few things we disagree on, we compromise. We talk a lot and we talk about everything. There’s really nothing we don’t tell each other. You just have to be open and not be embarassed to say anything.

Post # 14
Member
2523 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@EccentricBee:  I haven’t done premarital counseling, but a lot of bees have. I think it’s always a great idea! Good for you for pursuing this and for being interested in improving communication with your man. Not a lot of people care about communications style/emotional intelligence. It’s definitely an art!

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