Are You Talking, But Feeling Unheard?
Are you and your partner having trouble effectively communicating? Do you often feel like you’re walking on eggshells, worried that breaching certain topics will lead to unproductive disagreements? Perhaps you argue frequently or give each other the silent treatment. Or maybe you talk rationally, but never seem to come to an agreement or even a compromise. Do you often disagree about how to parent your children, allocate resources or divvy up household responsibilities? Maybe it feels like you’re just not on the same page anymore. Do you wish you could have a productive, thoughtful conversation rather than a battle?
Communication can be challenging in any relationship. Over the course of a long-term relationship, people often stop expressing themselves as clearly or thoughtfully as they did in the beginning. Couples sometimes begin to take each other for granted, forgetting to express affection or appreciation. Resentments can build up over time, and gradually relationships can become battlefields because of poor communication.
Communication is about exchanging information. With couples, communication often becomes emotionally charged. When emotions run high, it can be hard to say what you mean and hear what your partner is actually saying. However, when you and your partner slow things down and say exactly what you mean, the possibility of miscommunication diminishes. It may seem like if your partner really loved you he or she would know what you mean; however, love doesn’t make people mind readers.
While direct communication may sound simple, it’s easier said than done. There are many possible barriers to effective communication. Some people tend to agree with everything—whether or not they mean it—to avoid conflict, which can build resentment and lead to relationship breakdowns, withdrawal of affection or a sudden explosion of anger. Other people fail to consider their partner’s point of view. In arguments, one person may be building a case in his or her head, rather than listening to what his or her partner is saying.
If you and your partner have been having trouble communicating, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed. Counseling with an experienced therapist can help you and your partner identify blocks in couples communication and express yourselves thoughtfully and clearly to one another. You can learn to say exactly what you mean and express what you need.
Improving Couples Communication Can Transform Your Relationship
In counseling, you and your partner will have a safe space to explore what’s not working in your relationship. One of the experienced, nonjudgmental therapists at Chupik Counseling can help you and your partner improve your communication with one another. Counseling is a safe environment to express difficult feelings, work through challenging issues and learn to talk to one another with compassion and ease again.
Couples communication is a two-way street, and together, with your therapist, you and your partner can come to understand your communication roadblocks and explore avenues to fix them. In addition to serving as a mediator if emotions become heightened, your therapist can offer you concrete strategies to help improve your communication issues and guide and support you throughout the process. Changing behaviors takes practice, which is why your therapist will also provide you with exercises that you can put into place in your day-to-day life. With regular practice, you can develop simple tools and skills that can help you to express yourselves clearly.
A strong relationship is based in respect, admiration and love. Sometimes, these important relationship cornerstones become lost in the day-to-day challenges of maintaining a relationship. Most of us talk well, but we don’t always listen well. Your therapist can help you and your partner practice active listening and learn how to bring this skill into your everyday life. Your therapist can also help you remember what you admire about each other and recapture the spark that brought you together.
Paying attention to one another is powerful. Through working with your therapist, you and your partner can become more sensitive to each other’s needs. You can become more aware of each other’s feelings and tune into what is really being said. When couples communication improves and we become thoughtful, understanding of and vulnerable with our partners, everything else falls into place.
It is possible to break through couples communication barriers and create great changes in your relationship. With the help of a skilled therapist, effective communication strategies and the willingness to engage in the process, you and your partner can become more attentive to each other and move forward with increased grace, ease and connection.
But, you may still have questions and concerns about therapy…
What if it doesn’t help?
If you and your partner are having trouble communicating, particularly if the problem has been going on for a long time or is severe, it may seem impossible that therapy could help. In these cases feelings of hopelessness are very common. But, you won’t know unless you try. If you are both willing to explore effective couples communication strategies and have a desire to reconnect, anything is possible. Your marriage or long-term relationship is a significant part of your life, and therapy is an important investment in your future happiness.
Do we need therapy? Shouldn’t we be able to fix this on our own?
While many relationship issues can be worked through without additional guidance and support, when communication breaks down, it can be challenging to meet each other in the middle and come to resolution. And, when you start talking over each other or shutting down, communication problems can often worsen. If you’re struggling to communicate and connect, working with a professional therapist can bring so much relief. A therapist can provide you with a neutral view of your relationship and has the experience to help facilitate challenging conversations, offer perspective and provide you with tools that can provide lasting results.
What if the therapist thinks it’s all my fault?
Often one or both partners are reluctant to try counseling because they fear they will be blamed or that the therapist will judge them. Our therapists are committed to working with both of you to improve your relationship through better couples communication. Counseling offers a safe, judgment-free space for both you and your partner to understand what changes are needed create the relationship you both want.
You Can Improve Communication In Your Relationship
If you and your partner are ready to begin connecting and communicating with greater ease, or if you have additional questions about working with the therapists at Chupik Counseling, we invite you to contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.