The more you communicate the less you have to talk.

Here’s an old joke:

What five words does a man most hate to hear from his wife?

– (wait for it)

Honey, we have to talk.”
(ba dum, bump)

Unfortunately, people laugh at this because it is real. For too many couples “a talk” has come to mean a fast ugly descent into anger, hurt, resentment, and argument. I hear my friends complain about it, I see it in my office, and I empathize because I was there years ago.

How do you break the cycle, stop the ugliness, and make being with your partner a happy time again?

You actually communicate.

Before we discuss what needs to go right, let’s look at what goes wrong. With many couples there is a small problem, but they don’t do anything about it. Then another small issue, another, and again repeatedly- all ignored or swept under the rug. Pressure and discontent builds and builds until one person finally blows and needs to “talk.” Because so many things have been festering, the talk is more like an all out fist fight with words. Or, it goes absolutely nowhere because someone shuts down due to overload. It’s not pretty.

Does this happen to you?

The main problem is you are not communicating (or communicating well); especially when you are struggling with something. Instead of talking about the small thing when it happens and getting it fixed or dealt with, you let things grow to Godzilla proportions. Communication means being open and direct with your partner in a caring way about all things.

The gift, believe it or not is… if you speak about the small things each time they occur, you’ll have fewer and fewer ugly “talks.” That’s what needs to go right- starting to communicate.

(Here’s a clue to look for: I have learned if I am dreading talking to my husband it is because I haven’t been communicating with him recently.)

So today’s courageous work is to start looking at what you are sweeping under the rug. How are you creating Godzilla? What things can you start dealing with when they occur instead of when you are in an all out fight? (In fights things don’t really get dealt with anyway.) Start opening communication in order to avoid those dreaded “talks.”

P.S. I will be writing further this week about the skills you need to communicate. Review the post on listening- it’s the one with the zebra!

Godzilla image from galactic.supermarket on Flickr

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