When communication breaks down between a couple, the relationship can become incredibly painful, confusing and even destructive. The key to communicating effectively is to be able to verbalize how you feel and what you think. The challenge is to do so without loading conversations with complaints, criticisms, accusations or put-downs.
Communicating for relationship success
When you want to be open and air any grievances, or you want to tackle a problem that is bothering you, it helps if you are able to talk openly with your partner. Being able to give positive feedback to the person you’re sharing your life with is vital. Here’s why feedback is so important to the quality and success of your relationship:
- Stops resentment building – You know how it goes- if you don’t voice what’s niggling you then problems escalate, and as resentment sets in, respect goes out the window.
- Circumvents misunderstandings – When couples argue and snipe at each other, they are locked in a constant battle of reactive behavior. Often this is not based on some unquestionable truth but on a series of miscommunications and second-guessing of motives, thoughts, and feelings.
- Reveals what you think and feel – Have you ever complained about a partner for not acting in a certain way or for not saying something which you think they should have? Was your upset based on what you thought your partner should know without you having to say? However much somebody knows you, it is important to remember that they are not a mind reader. Feedback is about sharing information.
- Allows you to grow together with mutual trust and understanding – Feedback provides a guide for your relationship to follow. As you learn about each other and about yourself, your relationship can develop by nurturing positive feelings.
- Enables you to relate to each other on a deeper level – There is something intimate about sharing your thoughts with someone else. You might have opinions about many people and situations and want to voice them with a partner because you care so much about creating a special bond. The better you communicate, the more levels on which you can connect.
- Encourages tolerance for different ideas, feelings and perspectives – No man, or woman for that matter, is an island. When you’re sharing your life with someone it’s essential that you open your heart and mind to where that other person is coming from, how they see the world, and what they consider important. Feedback enables natural balance between two individuals rather than developing resentment due to each of you feeling you are compromising.
- Creates the potential for change – If you let your partner know how you feel you have opened the window of opportunity for them to make positive changes. It might be that the feedback you get in return changes how you see a situation too, as communication is not a one way street.
- Encourages you both to find solutions which benefit your relationship – If you keep quiet or lash out verbally then you disable your ability as a couple to problem-solve and delve into issues in a real and productive way.
- Feels good – Positive feedback feels good and benefits you as an individual. Allowing communication to flow and not deflecting feedback makes you feel confident about who you are and your relationship. There is great freedom in being able to successfully speak your mind.
How to give feedback in the right way
It’s not what you do but the way that you do it that gets results. What’s important is that you be clear about what you want to express; make it about yourself and how you feel rather than focusing on your partner in a critical way. If you feel unhappy about a situation, be open about this without berating your partner’s character.
Threatening or angry behavior may inspire strong emotions, but this won’t benefit either of you in the long run. Showing interest in trying to understand someone’s intentions and actions can illuminate the real dynamics, allowing you both to make decisions based on clarity and understanding. Above all else, keep the lines of communication open and if you want your feedback to be heard, then learn to listen too.
If you are looking to learn more about giving feedback, contact us today to book a session with one of our counselors.