Every interaction we have with another person consists of communicating, whether we intend to or not. We communicate with our body, voice tone, words and facial expressions. In order to have a healthy relationship, we need to learn how to communicate effectively by having solid communication skills. As we know, communication downfalls are the largest predictor of divorce. Below are 2 crucial skills that if practiced, will drastically enhance your understanding of each other.
1. Cultivate reflective listening
Reactive responses VS Reflective listening
Are you a reactor or a reflector? Reactors respond to information immediately and interrupt messages quickly. Reflectors take time to stop and think about what is being said, before responding.
Imagine how different your arguments would be if both people took a few moments to reflect before jumping into a defensive reaction. Our conversations would be much more meaningful.
Partner’s phrase: “I feel like this argument happens every time we see your parents…”
Reactor:“What are you talking about?! No it doesn’t! You don’t even know what you are talking about!
2. Respond to the core rather than the content
Core is the crux, content is the filler
When in an argument, we tend to respond to the content. “Why are you saying it in THAT way?” “Well remember what you did in the past?” “I am not going to talk to you unless….”
These little statements get us off track. When in an argument, try to identify the core message your partner is sending. While there may be yelling, unimportant information, or analogies that you don’t care about, attempt to find the core. Understanding the core message is not always easy, it calls for reflection and awareness of the other person.
Content from partner: “I see you flirting with other people! Why do you act that way?!”
Core message from partner: I am afraid to loose you and I am feeling insecure right now.