Communication is the foundation of all relationships. Therefore, problems in communication will almost always translate to problems in your relationship.
Have you ever wondered why there’s so much divorce and lots of broken relationships? Having worked with several couples, I’ve been able to identify a pattern of common problems that lead to a divorce (or breakup).
They include infidelity, money, sex, jobs, in-laws, arrival of kids, 3rd party interference, etc. However, the most common relationship problem that leads to separation, and is faced by 99% of troubled couples is Poor Communication.
Here are the top 7 communication mistakes couples make in their relationship:
1). Not listening enough: Communication is when you successfully share your ideas and feelings with someone. If you don’t listen to your partner, you’ll struggle to communicate effectively.
Listening should be active and focused – giving each other full attention and concentration. If you’re always on your phone when she’s pouring out her heart to you; or you’re mindlessly doing your nails when he needs you to hear him out, you’re just telling your partner that they don’t matter.
Also, listening is not just about hearing what is said. You should also pay attention to their feelings and emotions.
2). Not talking enough: You have to speak up in order to be heard. Most couples I’ve worked with confess that they don’t know how to start a conversation – especially the more difficult topics (such as sex, money, extended family, etc.)
As a result, they bottle it up and hope that the problem goes away on its own. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in real life. You need to speak up.
Communicate with love – tell your partner exactly how you feel; but don’t do it in a harsh way. You can tell them what you’re thinking without making them feel bad.
3). Talking too much (nagging): Some people use the advice in number 2 as a license to nag at their partner. Talking too much can have the opposite effect of what you really want to achieve.
When you nag, your partner will hide in their shell and give you the silent treatment. Or sometimes they can lose their patience and become equally aggressive. Neither of these is good for you.
Always keep your talking in moderation; don’t overdo it.
4). Talking to the wrong people: Most couples are unable to resolve their differences on their own. They run to their parents, siblings, friends, and even social media – all in a bid to get help.
If you always tell your problems to outsiders, you’re creating a bigger problem that you have no control over. Solve your problems at home by talking to each other in love and calm.
However, if the situation is so bad that you feel that you need a 3rd party, seek professional help from an expert who will not go about spreading your story to the entire world.
5). Not telling the whole truth: Some people prefer to hold back some aspects of an information when talking with their partner. You may do it with good intentions – but what happens when your partner finds out that you lied to them; or didn’t say everything you knew?
You’re simply giving them a reason to trust you less and doubt the things you say in the future. Once trust is broken, it is very difficult to build it back because you need to start afresh to build it.
6). Talking at the wrong time: It could be that your partner just got back home after a long day at work. That’s not the time to remind her that she left dirty plates in the dishwasher; or nag him for not removing the trash.
Or maybe one of you is really upset about something and almost boiling over. You can’t have a reasonable conversation at this moment. Just take some time off to cool down before revisiting the topic calmly.
Timing is very important in communication.
7). Expecting understanding without communication: Wouldn’t it be so lovely if your partner could always know what you’re thinking even without your telling them? That may work sometimes – but not always.
Don’t assume that they know what you have in mind. Assumptions lead to expectations; and when these expectations are not met, there is disappointment on both sides.
Bonus Point – Ignoring the basics of Please, Thank You, and I’m sorry
When we were little we all learned how to say please, thank you, I’m sorry, and all those nice little expressions that make us polite.
But as we grow up, so does our ego. And it becomes difficult to admit your mistakes and apologize. Or you find it hard to say Please because “it’s their duty”.
This could lead to tension in relationships – especially when someone is always rude and harsh in their communication.
Deal with these communication problems today and you’ll be on your way to a happier relationship.
I wish you well in your relationship.