By Burrow Hill/Aiyana Ma’at
The location for effective communication 9 times out of 10 is not in the family home or family car. It is not where the children are around, or the in-laws, or friends or even the dog. Of course, you will need to have some conversations in your bedroom after the kids have gone to sleep or over breakfast on a quiet Saturday morning. But, then there are those conversations—you know the ones. These conversations typically:
- have been had 25 times before
- make you feel like you are going to lose your mind
- usually leave you more confused about your partner’s views, ideas, or understanding than when you started
- make you want to pull out your hair
I know it’s difficult to delay what you want to say. Particularly, when one of you is upset about something, there is an impulse to have a discussion right here and now. However, impromptu conversation in a place where your feel too comfortable may encourage you to say things that will not help you to get the result you are looking for and having others around may help inflame the situation. It is far better for a couple to plan those conversations rather than have discussions in the “heat of the moment.”
In addition, for effective communication to occur in your marriage each person’s undivided attention should be on the other person.
So, where should in-depth marriage communication take place? It should be on neutral ground, not the home or office. You could rent a hotel room, meet at a quiet coffee house or any other place where neither party has an emotional tie. You can borrow a conference room or rent one at Fed-Ex Kinko’s. Once you get used to this new technique, a Starbucks or outdoor café or picnic table at a nearby park can work wonders!
By removing yourself from the family home, you are subconsciously telling yourself…
- This is a serious conversation
- I need to bring my “A” game
- I need to stay continually attentive to my partner’s every word
- This is my opportunity to air my views on issues affecting our lives.
All this loosely translates to giving yourself the opportunity to concentrate on your partner. Don’t shortchange the one you love by treating your marriage issues as if they were bothersome gnats. Don’t just swat away at marriage issues. Concentrate on them and on your partner’s thoughts and feelings about them and your marriage will be more successful and emotionally satisfying.
Burrow Hill is the author of “Talk Tools for the Business Side of Marriage.” Hill also conducts couple seminars where he teaches talk tools and facilitates couple communication. Visit his website http://www.TalkToolsOnline.com
Aiyana Ma’at is Co-Founder of B Intentional, LLC, a personal development and relationship education company. She is also co-owner of BlackLoveAndMarriage.com and PurposePusher.com. Learn more about her here.