Communication…it’s more than just talking

Couples invariably come into my office complaining that their communication has broken down and they are looking for ways to enhance their communication skills.                                               After the honeymoon, what?

Well, as the old saying goes, “Be sure you really want what you wish for because you may get it.”  Couples find out quickly that communication is more than talking.  It also involves listening. Therein lies the rub. When attempting to communicate, there is a propensity to focus more on what you want to say rather than than truly hear and uderstand the other person’s position. What starts out as a desire to come closer together ends up in a power struggle with both ending up losing. 

Communication stands the best chance of success when both people feel validated, heard and understood.  On the other hand, communication becomes noneffective when there is criticism, complaining and putdowns occuring resulting in the needs of one or both are not being met.   Focusing on one issue at a time and giving clear messages as to the needs and wants of each, stand the best chance of resulting in positive communication.

When communicating, it is not unusual for people to think in terms of right or wrong rather than viewing the other person as merely being different.  In listening and understanding the other person’s differences opens the door to negotiating a resolution that can work for both.

Comments can be directed to Ray Shocki PhD, LCSW, LMFT at lifesourcecenter