Communication; of the many woes of a relationship, this is one of the most challenging. Good communication is necessary to not only nurture a relationship but for it to flower and bear fruit. Many writers have filled pages giving advice on how to open the channels of communication and how to improve it. They have written it and we have read, still, it doesn’t mean we are practicing it. Similarly, they have said it and we have heard, it doesn’t mean we have listened. Below is my recipe for good communication. Read it, hear it, understand it and practice it.
When I say talk I don’t mean annoying the hell out of your partner. I don’t mean nig and nag until he or she caves. For as sure as they cave to the nagging, so too will they depart from you. Remember you aren’t auditioning for the lead roles in The Taming of The Shrew. Instead make time to air your concerns, provide the opportunity for both parties to lay their cards on the table. Concerns unaddressed, hurt feelings unsoothed and anger bottled up will explode. For talk to take place both parties need to participate. Men, I beseech thee don’t run when it gets heated, count to ten or ten thousand and continue to converse. Communication flows on a sea of talk. ‘Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story’ – Desiderata
‘He should know’, ‘she should have known better’ and ‘he/she never said it’, how often have you heard it? How often have we ourselves said it? (Guilty as charged) Why, because you think it so? We justify these statements by highlighting age, experience, socialization and the length of time we have been dating or in a relationship. Unfortunately, our reasons almost never include ‘I have said it’, ‘I have asked’. Wake up, your partner is not a mind reader. Miguel Ruiz states, “If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate’’. The onus is upon you to say it, to ask it and to make sure that all is understood. Don’t assume!!! Truth is, while I will agree on some accounts that we ought to know, to do better and that we should say it, we don’t always do. Fact, we want a peaceful life with the person we care for, so, don’t assume. Simply say it, ask it. Don’t allow assumption to drive a wedge between you and yours.
WATCH YOUR TONE, WATCH YOUR WORDS
It would seem that the answer has always been there but we have never heeded it. ‘A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger’ – The Bible. O gosh, where do I start? As women, some of us believe that we have to compensate for being the ‘weaker sex’ by exercising the might of our tongue. Stop right there, if that’s your approach, the battle has been lost before it has even begun. Men, half of the time how you hear it in your head is not how it sounds when you speak. Aggression and contemptuous tones should have no place in a conversation between civilized beings. And as much as possible speak without rehashing the past. Do not purposefully hurt the person with your words. Most of all think before you speak. If your words are meant to be daggers, rethink, for you will be rewarded with blood.
Two main components of the communication cycle are the sender and receiver. There must be talk and there must be a reception. You must listen. For some person the idea of a conversation is for them to speak and nothing else. As much as you want to speak you want to be heard. As much you want to be heard you must listen. “Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals’, Sura Hart. Let listening be as Hart describes it. We cannot go buzzing off like bees, causing utter confusion and further damage because we do not listen. Each person must be open to listening, to hear the person out. It is not until we listen will we find the problem’s root. It is not until we listen will we concoct a solution that suits us both. It is not until we listen will we heal.
Mix it up, add as you go along but never subtract. It’s not easy and you won’t get it right all the time. It takes time, be patient with your partner and yourself. Good Communication takes practice. Problem solved