In relationship communication, we fall into the traps of ‘heard that before’ and ‘I know what he or she is going to say’. We often listen more to our own mind chatter than to the conversation that is going on in real life. We have failed to attend to our own needs and are therefore unable to be truly there for the most important person in our lives: our self. In response to which we can therefore not be there for the second most important person – our partner.
Key number 1:
In relationship communication make sure to pay more attention to the HOW and WHY of what you are saying than to WHAT you are actually saying.
Key number 2:
Start a sentence with ‘I’ instead of ‘you’. This enables you to take responsibility and avoids projecting blame onto your partner. Talk about your own perspective and own your feelings.
Key number 3:
Stop communicating when your heart beat is elevated (above 100 beats per minute). Wait until the turbulences are over before discussing a problem. This avoids misunderstandings and painful discussions.
Key number 4:
Connect with each other when communicating: eye contact, touch, starting a sentence by saying your partner’s name. Make sure to attend to your partner the same way and more than you would pay attention to your most important client.
Key number 5:
Knowing your own and your partner’s listening limits is imperative. Be honest about not being able to listen fully and accept your partner’s ‘not now’.
Key number 6:
Listen with an empty cup. Stop rehearsing your own counter points or going through your shopping list while you are communicating.
Key number 7:
Communicate without words. Make sure to practice presence and being present without needing to speak. Look into each other’s eyes for at least two uninterrupted minutes daily. Bonus: connect by holding hands.
Key number 8:
Refrain from assumptions. Stop finishing his or her sentences in your own head. Be surprised about what might come out of a conversation.
Key number 9:
Take time for your self. To be truly able to attend to another, we need to be truly attentive to self-needs first. Listen to yourself and you will find it easier to listen to another.
Key number 10:
Be fresh with each other. Remember the first few months? Every word that came out of your partner’s mouth was fresh, new and interesting. Slip back into the newness state and listen to your partner with truly op