By: Laine Podell
Communication is key—a commonly overused cliché to serve as advice for almost any of our problems. Communication is, in fact, a highly necessary tool in any marriage or relationship. But the word “communication” is a broad term simply defined as an exchange of information. All types of communication are not equally beneficial. It is not only about communicating with your partner, but doing so effectively.
Often when faced with confrontation our emotions overwhelm us. Feelings of anger and frustration lead to the instinct to raise our voices. However, increasing the volume of your voice does not increase the validity of the point you are trying to make. Conversely, the message is more effectively delivered when you maintain a calm demeanor. Take a moment to compose yourself if your feel your emotions spiraling and your voice rising. Your partner will be more likely to listen, appreciate, and consider your opinion if you do not give in to your instinct to yell or scream.
Other issues may arise in the content of the argument rather than the delivery. Think about the goal of the conversation; it is important to know what message you hope to get across. If you plan in advance it will help to prevent outbursts that do not reflect what you truly meant to express.
Avoid thinking of an argument as a contest with a winner and loser. While your spouse is speaking, you should not be formulating your next move. Instead actively listen and take into consideration their point of view. Both partners must consider the conversation as a collaborative effort. With this mindset rather than a competitive one, a compromise will more likely be reached.
Applying these tips will lead to more effective communication. If you are struggling to succeed on your own, a counselor can help to assist a couple in working through conflict. If you are in Bergen County, New Jersey, feel free to call 201-368-3700 to find out more information or make an appointment with one of our own counselors, therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists.