Great Relationship Advice: How to Get "All A's" in Couples Communication
Mark Twain once said that he believed it was "God's great cosmic joke on humanity when He required men and women to live together in marriage."
When it comes to couples trying to communicate with each other, I believe old Mr. Clements was right on target.
Every day in my office, I watch men and women trying to talk with each other. While from my chair I can understand what each person is trying to say, often times the couple will look like "2 ships passing in the night" in their attempts to understand each other. And then I go home and do the same thing in my own little at-home laboratory.
So let's look at how to go from flunking to getting all A's in couples communication. The four courses (or A's) are: Assumption-Asking-Assimilation-Action.
We have all heard the saying that to assume means to make an "ass out of u and me." Did you also know that "assumption is the lowest form of knowledge?"
And still we do it every day with our partners. It happens in at least two ways:
1."Since I know what I like and need, I'll give the same thing to my partner"
. "If my partner really loved me, they would 'just know' what I want and need"
It's one of the main ways we flunk couple communication.
Let's blow a popular couples myth out of the water right now. You know, the one that goes "it doesn't count if I have to ask." If that's true, then just how are we going to find out? I work with the minds of people all day long, but I still can't read them. Instead, I just ask lots of questions.
Here's a few that I recommend to discover how your partner sees and experiences the world:
"here's what I think you mean. Do I have it right?" "in order to feel the most loved, do you need to see it, feel it, or hear it?" "what does love look like to you" "what do you think is romantic?"
If you don't know, ask. You have to A-S-K to G-E-T.
For our purposes, assimilation means to take the information you asked for and received and make it a part of your "working knowledge" of your partner. Using a computer metaphor, you need to install the information you have learned in your own brain.
Many folks get in trouble when they ask their partner for information, forget to install it, and then have to ask again and again. Whether intended or not, this sends the message that you were not really listening or interested, and/or that you don't really care. Yet another popular method of flunking couples communication.
I realize this may sound too simple, but once you install this stuff you have got to use it. Knowing what to do and doing it are not the same, they are very different.
Understanding is a good thing. We all like to be understood. But if it stops there, it stops too short of what's needed.
To get an A in this last part of couples communication, you have to put your understanding into action, what I call putting "hands and feet" on what you know.
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