Healthy and unhealthy ways to communicate

Dr Gary Chapman identifies unhealthy patterns of communication can destroy a marriage. 

Identifying them is the first step to fixing them.

Here are four common negative patterns:

1.     The Blamer

“It’s your fault.”  No matter what it is, you blame your spouse.

2.    The Peacemaker

“Whatever you want is fine with me.” Even if you have opinions, you don’t share them, because you don’t want to start an argument.

3.    The Professor

“Let’s be reasonable.” You see yourself as a person of logic. You explain it as you would to a child.  And that’s exactly how yours spouse feels.

4.    The Statue

You don’t talk.  “Ignore her and she will go away” is your philosophy.

Dr Chapman has a useful book on effective communication entitled: Now You’re Speaking My Language.

Healthy ways to communicate

Remember the goal of effective communication is mutual understanding and finding a solution that pleases both parties, not ‘winning’ the argument or ‘being right’.

1. Reflect back what is being said. Use their words, not yours.

2. Begin where they are, not where you want them to be.

3. Be curious and open to what they are trying to say.

4. Notice what they are saying and what they are not.

5. Emotionally relate to how they are feeling. Nurture the relationship.

6. Notice how you are feeling. Be honest and authentic.

7. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict or misunderstanding.

8. Try to understand how their past affects who they are and how those experiences affect their relationship with you.

9. Stay with the process and the relationship, not just the solution.

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