By David Steele.
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.
David Steele, MA, LMFT is a Relationship Coach and Founder of Relationship Coaching Institute and the author of innovative coaching programs for singles and couples.