In this month's currently post, I briefly shared how I prayed for the happiness of my friends. My desire for each of them is to find someone who they can unconditionally love and become best friends with. Some have asked Caleb and I how it is that we've stayed together for nearly 4 years at such as young age. While I believe that there are many factors that play into that, one of the top reasons is:
We don't fight.
That's right. We don't argue. Usually at this point I get crazy looks from whoever I just said this to, but just stay with me. If you look up the definition of "Argument" on Google, you'll come up with this: “an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.”
This first part of that definition is fine; an exchange of diverging or opposite views is simply a discussion. It is the latter portion of that definition that should (and can) be avoided. A "heated or angry" exchange makes it difficult to take turns listening to each other and solving the problem at hand. A discussion should be both of you against a problem, not both of you against each other.
Keys To Successful Communication in a Relationship
1. DO express your expectations
Sometimes we tend to think that our exasperation will lead the other person understanding what it was that we want. We get upset because they don't take out the trash, do the dishes, or they complain too much. But there’s a simple solution: Just use your words. Kindly express what your expectations are without attacking them. They aren't mind readers.
2. DON'T attack
Even if we mean well, sometimes we can come across as harsh because of our word choice or tone of voice. Using “you” can make it sound like you’re attacking. Instead, try using “I” or “we.” For example, say “I would love if you could take a short break from (whatever they're doing) so we could spend some time together” instead of “You're always working and don't take time to be with me.”
I also heard of this saying, which I find very true: 10% of conflicts is due to difference in opinion and 90% is due to the wrong tone of voice. Think about that.
3. DO check your body language
Sit up, face them, and make eye contact when speaking. Don't cross your arms or roll your eyes. Let them know you’re listening and that you really care.
4. DON'T become a wall
If need be, take a short 10 minute break to calm down before talking. But withdrawing from interactions and refusing to communicate at all will only amplify the problem at hand and drag it on. Couples need to communicate about their issues. Giving the other person the silent treatment is about as useful as a goldfish with a bicycle.
5. DO be completely honest
Little lies turn into big lies. Hiding things from your partner can lead to distrust and even more relationship problems.
6. DON'T criticize
Going along with #2 up above, don't attack their personality or character with accusation and blame. Not only is that hurtful, but it doesn't help solve the problem at hand.
7. DO listen and force yourself to hear.
Really listen. Sometimes we can let words go in one ear and out the other without truly hearing what it is the other is saying. Rather than using the time to decide what it is you're going to say next, stop and force yourself to hear what they're saying. You might find that the discussion will end a lot sooner with both of you hearing one another.
8. DON'T bring up the past
Stay focused in the here and now. It's easy to veer off the road and talk about everything but what the discussion really is about. Whether or not things were resolved in the past, this is not the time to bring up another discussion from the past. If it wasn't resolved, bring it up at another time.
9. DO understand differences
You are both different people with different backgrounds and different ways of seeing the world. Sometimes these differences can get in the way when one person expects the other to behave a certain way. Understand that what one person might find as normal, the other might not understand. Communicate these differences to each other and put yourself in their shoes sometimes.
10. DON'T assume that it's the other person who always needs to change
When you really listen with an open heart and ears, you might find that you're the one who needs to make a change in your life. Admit to it, and work hard on changing that. Sometimes it can be difficult, but it's definitely worth it.
What do you think? Can an argument free relationship exist? What are some other ways to improve communication?