Mark Goulston, M.D.
Improve relationship communication
Relationship expert, Mark Goulston, M.D., shares tips for couple to improve relationship communication. There are certain things you can say to get a conversation going, and this is dependent on gender. Women like to be told that they are being listened to, while men like to know that they are admired and respected. Relationships come with expectations.Twoology.com helps couples fulfill them.
How can we improve relationship communication? How would you like to have one of the best conversations you have ever had of your partner? I’m an equal gender offender, so I’m going to give you a tip for each gender.
For the man: If a man says to his partner, “Have I ever made you feel that you’re not worth my undivided attention?” The answer is yes. Every woman has felt that way. And, when men show their caring solving problems, it helps the woman to open up. Too often women do not feel helped. They do not feel heard.
So, if you’re a man and you say to the woman in your life, “Have I ever made you feel that you’re not worth my undivided attention or that you’re not worth listening to”, here’s the interesting observation: If you’ve been together less than ten years, often the hurt that is still there may show, and they may start to tear up. If you’ve been together over ten years, most likely, that hurt has crossed over into anger. What might happen is the woman might stick her chin out of you and say, “You are an awful listener. You don’t ever give me your undivided attention.”
The key, though, is if you’re a man, stay firm with either of those responses and say to the woman in your life, “That’s why I’m bringing it up. And, look, just because I don’t know how to listen to you in the right way and hear you in the way that you deserve to be heard, doesn’t mean that you’re not worth listening to. Don’t you ever let anyone, including me, make you feel that way ever again, and I am sorry.”
When I brought this up at a couple’s conference, and I asked the women in the audience, “How would you feel if your man said that to you?” One female raised her hand and said, “He’d get lucky!”
For the women: It goes this way. You say to your man, “Have I ever made you feel that I don’t admire and respect you more today than when we first met?” Most men’s jaws will drop. That’s because, often, men feel criticized, everything gets pointed out to them, and they get nagged that they do everything wrong.
You then want to follow that up with, “Just because I don’t point out to you how blessed I feel to have you in my life and how safe you make me feel doesn’t mean I don’t feel that way, and that you aren’t the biggest blessing in my life. I’ve been wrong to not let you know that, and I am sorry.”
When I asked that question, “What would that feel like?” at a couple’s conference, the response that I received from a man in the audience was, “Oh, like I died and went to heaven.”
And so, those are tips to have some of the best conversations you will ever have in your relationship.
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