When you discuss issues with your partner, be genuine and be present. Don’t let your mind wander. Maintain eye contact. If you are upset, empathize with how she or he feels. Use “soft eyes” to convey the idea that you’re on their side. If either of you tends to change the subject rather then deal with it, create an agenda of issues to discuss as a reminder to stay on task. If you disagree with that your partner is saying, wait your turn. Don’t interrupt. When it’s your turn, instead of saying,”You’re wrong,” try, “I see things differently.”
If your partner is not forthcoming about an issue, ask what’s wrong in a way that doesn’t invite a yes or no answer. Ask, for example, “What’s troubling you?” rather than, “Is something troubling you?” When a problem has been identified, don’t offer a solution. Ask, “What will you have to do to fix it?” or, “What can you do about it?” or, “What’s in store for you?” If you partner responds, “I don’t know,” ask, “What information will you require in order to know? or, “What do you know about it so far? or, “How can you find out more about it?” Other helpful questions might be; “How can I help you?” or, “If the same thing happened again, what would you do?” or, “If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?”
Tried and True Communication Techniques:
What is most important is the intention to communicate with heart. All of these strategies can be spin doctored to sound sarcastic or hurtful depending on eye contact, tone of voice, and body language. Make it your intention to listen with your heart. According to Nelson Mandela ” A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”.
Dr.Linda Miles , is a highly regarded psychotherapist with over 30 years experience. Her book The New Marriage,Transcending the Happily Ever After Myth was a finalist for the Forward Book of the Year Award. She has written many articles for professionals and published in national magazines such as Parents and Entrepreneur.