MARRIAGE MYTH NUMBER 2.
WE NEED TO COMMUNICATE MORE!!!
OK everybody I’m gonna bust marriage
This is really important and I want to let you know that this marriage myth is very common. In couples we regularly misunderstand that the distance and silence between us may have come about from exactly that, too much harmful communication. This can be just as harmful as when couples do another harmful type of communication which involves criticism, contempt and defensiveness (aka arguing).
Communicating more in the same way that got you to this overheated or icy place may be keeping you stuck or dragging you further into stalemates, silent treatment and stonewalling.
Alright, so let’s say you are angry with one another, you are allowed, its normal. Maybe you talk to each other pretty rough or contemptuous or the opposite,maybe you’re doing the silent treatment, you’re not even talking to each other anymore. So obviously you know that is not working, not getting you anywhere. At the end I am going to tell you the healthy types of communicating you need to do in the face of poor communicating.
But I want to tell you what you need to do first. It is crucial and it makes all the difference going forward together. What I am talking about is, MAKING A REPAIR ATTEMPT, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. When you are in the middle of your negative cycle as a couple, someone, anyone, has got to see that we need an olive branch, a reach out to one another, it really matters right now.
What’s a Repair Attempt? When things are heading south in a couple communication it can be a crucial turnaround moment if either one of you can do one of the following for starters:
“This is not going the way I ment it too” (Each couple has their own
“I think we are making things worse” sweet or funny actions.)
“I care about you I don’t want to do this” A silly face at the right time.
“How can I make this better” A light joke about messing it up
“Can we Start Over” Maybe a hand touching another
“Can we take a break to calm down” at the right time in the process
it can lighten the mood and be
accepted as a Repair Attempt.
Sometimes we would get further with a repair attempt and a restart. But what couples often do is they try to push through when they are ramped up and this is where the damage occurs.
Here is what is suggested by marriage experts like the Gottman’s.
Criticism use Gentle Starts to Important
Defensiveness use Take accountability
for your piece in this
Contempt (disdain or You did.. use Describe your own needs
and feelings not theirs
Stonewalling (silent avoiding) use Use ways to calm yourself so you do not have to move away
Even when you learn about using safe healthy communication skills it still means you have to practice them over and over again. That really is why some couples come to therapy to upload and practice the new skills they want in their relationship.
It is a relationship long goal to use healthy skills most of the time. It doesn’t always happen and that is why it is actually SO IMPORTANT TO LEARN HOW TO HAVE REPAIR CONVERSATIONS.
So remember even repair attempts that are not verbal can have huge effects. Whether my partner accepts my silly grin or a hug, a repair attempt depends on how well we have been keeping up on our friendship. So it is important that we are being kind and doing small acts of kindness for one another.
If these things are going on between you then there is more likelihood that our partner will accept your repairs when you mess up. Messing up in relationships is not optional, it’s a fact of life, what you do after that can be transformational!!!!
So we don’t need more communication, but better communication, the right type, at the right time. Tell me some of your favorite repair attempts in the comments section below.
Thanks for following along. Watch for the next Marriage Myth Busting Blog to Come.
Want to hear a full length talk on Communication Intimacy and Trust and how to spot Negative Communication Patterns then click on the link below. I would love to have you listen in. Thanks Monica
Counseling Rediscovering Connections in Union, MO