In my more than a decade as a marriage and life coach, one of the biggest problems I have seen for people is poor communication.
With their spouse. With family members. With work colleagues. With their employee or employer.
And it creates a lot of conflict: misunderstandings, resentment, lack of intimacy - and massive stress and unhappiness.
In fact, poor communication with the people who are important to us is at the heart of most of the problems we have. It often results in a marriage ending in divorce, for example.
Many people try to improve their communication by taking courses, reading books, or engaging in counselling, coaching or therapy.
But this often only adds to the confusion - and doesn’t really improve the communication much at all. It can even make things worse.
The solution to the problem of poor communication is actually rather simple - and obvious once you know it:
To create effective communication in your marriage (or any other relationship) all you need to do is:
Get the other person (your spouse) to want to communicate with you.
That’s it! Nothing more.
Think about it: isn’t the main problem that the other person doesn’t want to communicate with you on a truly honest level? Change their attitude - and you’ll find them falling over themselves to tell you how they really feel - and be truly interested in finding out (and acting on) how you really feel.
So ask yourself:
“What could I do to make this person want to communicate with me?”
Really think about it. Here are some ideas:
- Don’t get upset - ever - when they tell you how they feel about something
- Don’t push them to tell you how they feel
- Be a fun, easy going person to be around (make them feel good around you)
- Don’t get into deep conversations when they start opening up to you (unless they want to)
- Listen to them more than you talk - and really listen
- Show that you are interested in how they feel: ask them questions (in a non-pushy way)
- Show that you take their feelings seriously by acting on what they tell you
Simply put, give the other person reasons to want to communicate with you - and see how much your relationship improves.
Of course, if the person has narcissistic tendencies, or you have never had a satisfying level of communication with them in the past, then you might not reach the level of communication you want, no matter what you do. It then becomes a case of assessing the overall value of that relationship to you and acting accordingly.
But with the right person, these ideas might just be enough to heal your marriage or friendship.
I have a complete episode of my podcast on how to improve communication. Listen to it here growinginloveforlife.com/pc020/