4 Mistakes Couples Make in Communication
Relationship can be difficult but many problems stem from poor communication skills, according to marriage and relationship counselors. Old addages from both Chinese proverbs and the Bible promote the idea that a person’s mouth can cause big trouble and people need to be careful what they say.
Relationships can head for troubled waters when people speak too soon or their words are unkind. While many people think words can’t hurt them, words do hurt and can strike at the core of a person. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t express your feelings, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it.
Here are four major mistakes people commit in communicating and how to resolve them:
- A person aways directing issues at the other person.
This is characterized by saying things like “you need” or “you should.” These terms always reflect that problems stem from the other person rather than youself. This indicates two things. The first thing it seems to show is that the person this is directed at needs management. The second implication is that the person isn’t good enough, smart enough or wise enough.
- Making Universal Statements
This is demonstrated when someone says uses words like “never” and “always” as in “you never take out the trash” or “you always get angry when you shouldn’t.”
These type of statements show two problems. The first problem is that these type of statements are inaccurate. No one “always” or “never” does things. They may have lapses in behaviors but to use these universal generalizations puts an unreasonable accusation on them. Second, it puts the other person on the defensive because they feel the need to defend themselves against the unreasonable accusation.
- Making It Personal Beyond the Issue
One of the biggest problems many people have when they fight about an issue is they don’t fight fairly. They may start out discussing a behavior but end up fighting about the person’s personality or other issues. They just make it personal.
Attacking a person is different from addressing a behavior that makes you angry. The two should be separated. You can discuss a problem with behavior in a way that helps the other person understand why it upsets you without attacking them as a person.
People in relationships must remember they other person has worth and you should never attack their worth if you really love them. Keep your arguments to address the issue at hand without trying to personally hurt the other.
- Invalidating Feelings
A huge mistake that many people make in relationship communication is they invalidate the other person’s feelings. They blow them off, minimize their feelings and generally fail to recognize their feelings.
Phrases that follow this line of talk are things like “you’re blowing this out of proportion” or “you’re overreacting” or “you are acting crazy.” Saying these types of things shows that you aren’t valuing the other person’s insight and feelings. It is telling them their feelings are worthless.
Anytime you demean the other person, it is going to cause problems in your relationship. No one likes feeling devalued and a relationship can’t last when one person constantly feels as if they aren’t important.
Contrary, a good relationship is where both people make the other feel valued and loved. Whether you are the one making these statements or are the recipient of them, you can make positive changes by changing how you communicate.
You can’t change the other person’s actions or things they say but changing the way you communicate will gently prod them into a better mode of communicating also.