How long have you been trying to salvage a relationship and not getting where you want to go? Relationships take work, real work at communicating with our partner to ensure a healthy, lasting relationship. The four most common communication mistakes couples make are not finding and discussing the core problem, not understanding that the words we use in communicating are important, choosing the wrong time and place to have a discussion, and not saying “I’m sorry” when we hurt our partner. Fixing these mistakes is a good first step in learning to salvage a relationship.
How many times have you had the same argument over and over again in your relationship? For example, consider Suzy who works full time and ends up arguing with her partner about “never cooking dinner.” What Suzy is really feeling is drained from her work when she gets home and feeling like she would like more emotional support from Jake. What she is doing instead of talking about her needs and the underlying problem, is nagging her partner and not getting what she needs. If Suzy were instead able to discuss the core problem with her partner in a more constructive manner, her partner would react differently.
Taking Suzy’s small example above, the words we use when discussing problems with our partners are very important, especially when trying to salvage a relationship. If she continues to nag about “you never cook dinner,” how likely is her partner to ever start helping her out with meal preparation? I don’t know of a single person that responds well to nagging or to using absolute terms such as “you never” or “you always” when their partner tries to discuss important issues.
Berating her partner while she is preparing the meatloaf for the oven and chopping potatoes is also not going to get Suzy the desired effect she is looking for in her partner. She needs to choose a better time to have the discussion when she isn’t feeling so angry about her situation and is in a better frame of mind. Similarly, it is best if she chooses a time when her partner will be able to listen to what she wants to say and respond, rather than when Jake is in the middle of paying bills, etc.
Learning how and when to apologize to your partner is another important key to salvage a relationship. Often we get so caught up in our own emotions and our own hurt and frustration that we don’t even notice when we hurt our partners. Taking the time to say you are sorry when you do hurt your partner, even if you think that they shouldn’t feel hurt, lets them know that you care about them. If you are working to salvage a relationship, its important that you don’t fall into these same communication pitfalls over and over while you are trying to patch things up. Remember your goal is not to drive your partner further away from you, but to have that relationship of your dreams.
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