April 2014



Top 5 Communication Tips For Couples

By David Steele

couple talking

Use The 3 Magic Words of Listening - "Is there more?"
For most people, listening is far more challenging than talking. If you do nothing else, being attentive to what your partner is saying and using these 3 magic words will make you a star listener. Try it!

Are you wondering what the "3 Magic Words Of Speaking" are? Simply... "I love you". If you are expressing things that may be difficult for your partner to hear, be sure to start and end with these healing words.

It's Not About You!

When your partner is expressing a thought, feeling, need, issue, or judgment, it comes from their reality, is valid for them, and it is not about you! Most arguments would never happen if we would simply accept our partner’s point of view and agree to disagree.

It's All About You!

Your thoughts, feelings, needs, issues, and judgments are your reality, are valid for you, have little to do with your partner, and many people (including your partner) are unlikely to see things your way.

If you take full ownership for your experience you will be able to create the conditions for connection and harmony in just about any situation with your partner. A fulfilling relationship is about having, accepting, and negotiating differences, not being “right”, seeking sameness or consensus.

Turn complaints into requests.

We bring many, many needs into any relationship and will experience an issue when a need is not met. It is impossible for all needs to be met all the time in any relationship, so you will have many opportunities to experience and express issues. Simply making a request and focusing on what you want to happen, instead of what is wrong or not happening, and negotiating a "win-win" outcome, will effectively prevent or resolve conflict.

Tell your truth.

The path to true intimacy and connection is by being authentic and telling your full truth to your partner about your thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, issues, boundaries, etc. Intimacy means, "Into me I see", a transparency between two people that requires full expression of what is inside. Seeking to avoid conflict and maintain harmony by censoring yourself can work for awhile, until your suppressed truth comes out in other ways, such as withdrawal, resentment, "acting out", etc. Telling your whole truth can be scary, but will result in the kind of relationship that you really want.

Copyright © 2014 by David Steele and The Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute.

For more information and free Radical Marriage resources for couples visit www.radicalmarriage.com

Ask Our Coaches

She's only happy when she gets her way - what about me?

unhappy woman Dear Coaches,

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in our relationship who wants things to go smoothly. When my wife sets her mind on something, she has to get her way or else it leads to a big fight.

Whenever we have a disagreement, I find that I end up giving in just to keep from fighting. I wish the saying "happy wife - happy life" was true, but I'm not really happy. It doesn't seems right that she doesn't care about what I want, and that I can't even have a say on where we eat dinner or the movie we watch.

What can I do to help her see my side?

~ Jeff

Marian Meade

Marian responds ...

It sounds like you are in quite a challenging situation. I suspect that perhaps you were attracted to your wife's take charge attitude when you first met, but now you are feeling like you have no say in the relationship.

I understand your desire to keep the peace, but the problem is that unless you find a way to speak up, you are both going to be unhappy. I encourage you to find a couples coach who can help you to tolerate the conflict that will come when you start to express your desires.

Keeping the peace works in the short term, but over time, it will erode your relationship. Also, unless you speak up for yourself, your wife wont have the opportunity to grow and learn how to be a loving partner.

Marian Meade | www.marriagemindedcoaching.com

Anita Myers

Anita responds ...

As a married woman I can appreciate your passion and embrace your quest in finding balance in your and your wife's desires.

Balance can be attained, but it will take the work of both parties to make that happen. Let's review the ABCs...

Accountability is key: Have you honored your wife to the extent that you've dishonored your needs? Have you aided in setting a standard where she trumps all decisions? Has she held herself accountable in terms of honoring you and your union?

Behaviors: Are we behaving badly? We often woo our spouse by enabling unappealing behaviors, over-sacrificing our own joys to please theirs, and curtailing the encouragement of needed behaviors a healthy relationship needs.

Checking In: In all things healthy and good, a marriage check-in is necessary. It's a form of maintenance that's essential in anything we love and want to keep in good standing. It's done for things, but not so much for love. Sharing respectful honesty when reviewing the state of your union gains opportunities to adjust to mutual needs.

Give the ABC's a profound try and supplement with a professional advocate who can guide you toward your heart's satisfaction.

Anita Myers | www.innerscopeconsulting.com

Denise Wade Ph.D.

Denise responds ...

Perhaps you are giving in too easily, to avoid conflict.

Your wife may have experienced childhood trauma, which creates an inability to be flexible. Rigidity creates a semblance of order, certainty, and feeling of being in control, of home and circumstances. We must understand our partner in order to have compassion.

You may feel a sense of disempowerment that actually may have started long before you met your wife. The feeling of not being "at choice" is common among adults who experienced a dominating parental figure in childhood. This relational dynamic then gets carried into our romantic union, first by choosing the partner who aligns with this imbalance. Then we may act out the resentment and dissatisfaction on our partner.

I would suggest you read the book Choice Theory by Dr William Glasser. Practice the art of negotiation, when you both desire two different options, by choosing a third neutral option. If your wife resists negotiation, then practice your right to be "at choice" by going out to your favorite restaurant or by watching your favorite movie, even if it means going solo.Gently demonstrate to her that exercising flexibility is rewarded with the blessing of your company.

Denise Wade Ph.D. | www.sweetharmony.net

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


How to stop arguing and start communicating!

The quality of our communication determines the quality of our relationships, and the quality of our relationships determines our happiness. It really is that simple.

How to stop arguing and start communicating!

This program will walk you through the steps of The Communication Map, an incredibly simple, effective and easy-to-understand tool that can be used in any type of relationship: between romantic partners, parents and children, managers and employees, friends, neighbors, etc.

Access here

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Darlene Steele | Editor, Couple for Life News | CONTACT DARLENE
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