Healthy Communication in YOUR Relationship

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual value.
— Rollo May

I am the worst at communicating at times! {{NEWS FLASH}}. Why? Because I let my emotional responses get in the way of what I want to communicate in a health way. When my husband and I are both in an emotional place-- WATCH OUT! Neither one of us communicate in a healthy way. How do you stop yourself from being in emotion mind and communicate in a healthy way? 

Step 1: 

STOP- It is so hard to stop yourself, however, necessary. When you are in the heat of the moment it is hard to take a step back. My husband said-- "Why are you not the level-headed one during our arguments, you are the therapist?" I would love to "lie" to you and say that 100 percent of the time, I can stop myself. A few things that work for me about 80 percent of the time are: asking for space for a minute and revisiting the situation when we have time to "cool down" and using the DBT STOP skill. STOP stands for S- Stop, T- Take a minute, O- Observe, and P- Proceed Mindfully. I have a stop sign picture on my phone to remind me to use that skill as it is a huge asset in creating time for me to think about what is going on. When you are observing the situation-- what is going on in the environment, where are you, what happened that day, etc. It is important to consider what your partner is going through too. We all have our own stuff going on that impacts how we interact with one another.

Step 2: 

Establish what the goal or intention of the "argument" is. If you are not on the same page or able to identify the desired goals of your communication then you will continue to "fuel the fire". A few suggestions are to discuss hard topics when you are both prepared and to active listen/validate your partner. Validating does not mean you agree, it means that you hear them and are taking into account what they are saying. My husband and I schedule difficult discussions when it is a good time mentally for both of us. If someone has worked non-stop and you want to discuss a hard topic, they may not have the energy to discuss it at that time. 

Step 3: 

BE NICE! I know it seems simple, however, when things are heated it is easy to one up or be mean to one another to prove your point. Words hurt and can be with someone for a long time. Remember that when you are saying something to your spouse. It is so hurtful to be called names by the person we are supposed to be able to be vulnerable with. 

Suggestions for good books to read with your spouse to help with healthy communication in your relationship: 

High Conflict Couple: A Dialectal Behavioral Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation by Anne E. Fruzzetti.

Hold Me Tight By Susan Johnson

5 Love Languages- Military Edition

I Love You, but I'm Not IN Love With You: Seven Steps to Save your Marriage.

YOU are the key in healthy communication: Love, Listen, and Be Present.

Be You. Be Happy. Be Well.