When you have been in a relationship for a while, you might have noticed that the way you say things to your partner has changed from the beginning. What happened to the adoring conversations with this wonderful man who did everything for you? What about the sexy chats with the super cute woman that you date? Change is inevitable. How you choose to communicate however is your choice.
Think before you speak
In general the more comfortable we become with someone, the more real we also allow ourselves to be. This means not only allowing the weaknesses and vulnerabilities, we otherwise keenly hide from people, but also the can of worms that opens with all our triggered emotions. This often leads us to say some more or less nasty and hurtful things to the person we love most.
So what can we do? First of all, it is about slowing things down, taking care of our emotionality and speak when we have more control and rationality rather than allowing the heat of the moment to take over. I just came across a night acronym on THINK before you speak, which might help you:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
Let’s have a look at each one of those questions:
Is it true?
Often we go by what we assume or feel to be true, it is however not verified content. If you truly ask yourself whether what you are thinking is the truth and not just your opinion, then you might not need to say something or, instead of making a factual statement, you might want to ask a question.
- For example: You are always late for dinner!
- New question might be: It seems to me that when we agree to have dinner at 6pm it often happens that you come later. Is there a reason for that?
Is it helpful?
Making a snarky comment like: “Why did you leave the bread out on the bench, it will go dry!” might only inflame or discourage your partner’s efforts. Remember the French saying: ‘C’est le ton qui fait la musique’ which means the way your statement will be received depends on the tone of voice and the intent behind what you say. Sometimes you only notice that something you said was not helpful once you have already said it. This is good information to keep in mind for next time. Make a mental note and remember next time.
Is it inspiring?
Think back to the beginning of your relationship and how inspired you were while talking to your partner. Add some more of that into the present moment. This does not mean that you should not tell your wife about the annoying boss at work but if these are the only kind of conversations you have, then you might want to come up with some more inspiring topics.
Is it necessary?
Often we want to get noticed, especially in a relationship, which has become habitual. This will inevitably lead to mentioning things or making a point about something that is rarely necessary. Choose your battles wisely. If it is not necessary, let it go. You are not only doing your relationship but yourself a favour.
Is it kind?
Most snarky, making-a-point kinds of comments are not kind. They might be spoken with seemingly kind words but the reality behind the words is seldom kind. This question will hopefully also inspire you to think not just about the words but also about the way you say something important.
You might not be able to say ‘yes’ in response to the questions regarding all the things you want to say. The fact is that being in a relationship may mean you need to say things, which are necessary and true but not inspiring or kind. Whether things are helpful is also often a matter of the distance from which you look at what has been said.
All in all
Being reminded that we are in a relationship with the person we most love we have the choice to use the words, once we have taken care of our emotional tidal waves. If you are too emotional (for example heartbeat above 100 beats/minutes), my recommendation is to postpone any conversation until you both had time to cool down and settle.