Love & Sex Magazine

Talking with Your Heart

By Barbarajpeters @CouplesAuthor

On Valentine’s Day, the language of love is everywhere. Sweet talk on candy hearts may give clues to our feelings, but solid communication is what makes love last a lifetime.

Communication is the glue that holds a marriage or relationship together, yet we all make mistakes when we communicate with our partners. This can lead to frustration, anger, and eventually the destruction of the relationship. What are roadblocks to good communication we should be aware of?

  • Talking with your heartNot listening to what the other is saying
  • Formulating responses before getting sufficient information to answer appropriately
  • Using words not easily understandable
  • Using inappropriate vocal features, such as tone of voice, volume, and inflection
  • Displaying negative body language or facial expressions
  • Inappropriate timing to talk about significant issues
  • Failure to make sure your partner understands what you are saying

 So, recognize yourself in any of the above?

Many of the couples who come to my office for counseling list communication as one of their major problems. When couples become disengaged with each other, they often look to other people to discuss the things they can’t talk about with their partner; others keep things bottled inside because they can’t find a safe place to express their feelings.

Depression can easily take over when emotional needs aren’t met. You may have heard someone say, ”My husband/wife just doesn’t understand me, or even take the time to listen.” Someone else may show willingness to listen and understand; affairs often get started this way. Part of being human is the desire to share feelings and thoughts with another. When this doesn’t happen for a period of time, problems in the relationship can occur.

I often use a technique called “mirroring,” which is reflecting listening. It is a process where the sender reflects or paraphrases back to the recipient a phrase containing the meaning of what he or she heard. It goes something like this: What I hear you saying is _____. Phrased this way, discourse offers the chance to validate or negate a message. This back and forth goes on until an understanding of the exact message is reached. Dialogue then continues with a good probability of resolution.

Other tips for effective communication are: 

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