Hi there, Austin Cross here. This article is a continuation of my previous and is part three of the “Beverly Hills dating 101” section.
As a recap, we are currently working through a series articles detailing 5 of the most important things to consider when choosing a mate. These considerations, if pondered carefully will begin to build a foundation within you for a happy, healthy relationship. And now, without any further ado, we continue with the series.
Consideration #3 know how you communicate; learn how to communicate
If you have ever spent any amount of time living in apartments, you most likely have heard a dysfunctional couple or two arguing loudly through the wall. Voices raised, tensions high, angry words ‘a flying; this is probably the most classic and common example of failed negotiations.
What our family, friends and the media have led us to believe is that carrying on this way is perfectly healthy and acceptable. Whilst raised voices are indeed quite common in the contemporary relationship, heated negotiations using strong and sometimes hurtful words reach a point when productivity ceases, and nobody is really working towards the success of the relationship. There are many causes that lead to failure in this way, however, using your head long before said point is often the best policy when it comes to insuring healthy communication.
In our quest to build a happy, healthy relationship, knowing how you communicate is quite possibly the most important thing to consider. Allow me to explain this concept with an example.
Meet Tom. Tom is dating Carrie.
Tom is an even-tempered man who has been in a relationship for 6 months. At this point in the relationship, he has seen the “infatuation stage” morph into a real, functioning relationship. Gone are the days when day-to-day annoyances got overlooked; both he and Carrie noticed one-another’s flaws, and while some could be ignored indefinitely, others were a tad more difficult to just simply, “get over”.
Carrie one day makes it a point to tell Tom that his beard scratches her when they kiss. She says it like this:
“You should trim that thing, it’s all scratchy!”
Tom gets slightly offended.
Tom believes that Carrie has bad morning breath. Instead of confronting her about it, he simply buys mouthwash and leaves it on the bathroom counter.
Carrie’s breath improves dramatically.
Lets observe what happened here:
Carrie took a direct, but not exactly cordial approach to her issue with Tom’s facial hair. The result was Tom’s pride being wounded a tad. By no means a fatal blow, however assuming that Carrie communicates in this way frequently, little knocks to Tom’s ego can result in big dents over time.
Knowing now that Carrie communicates in this way, she has two options:
1) Find a guy who can take her criticism.
2) Change the way she approaches Tom when it comes to issues such as these.
The following are some reasonable replacements:
“I think you would look pretty sexy all clean shaven!”
“Are you out of razor blades? I heard about this new razor, maybe you should give it a try?”
“Your skin is so soft, I want to be able to feel it!”
To put it simply, don’t highlight a person’s shortcomings, simply state how much more positively you would feel if there was a change. When all else fails, a direct, partner-validating approach will save the day:
“Hey baby, I know you like having long facial hair, but it’s kinda scratchy. Would you mind trimming it a little?”
Tom took a more passive approach opting to not simply discourage one act, but to encourage another.
I have to give Tom props on this one- most men aren’t skilled in the art of passively dealing with issues.
Women are just as, if not more likely to be offended if approached in the wrong way. In the end, the key to a peaceful relationship is asking oneself the following before attempting to deal with any issue:
1) Can I live with it long term?
2) Is it detrimental to our relationship or my partner’s health?
3) Is it fixable, or is it rooted to who they are?
4) What is the best way to go about communicating this? (Take into account how touchy the subject is)
When communicating, it is also very important to pay attention to tone, facial expression and body language. I know of no reason why any couple should HAVE to resort to loud, angry, hurtful arguments. If your partner and yourself utilize healthy communication methods, it may be possible to avoid such arguments almost entirely.
Your homework now is to look at how you communicate with others. Look at how you communicated in past relationships- what worked? What didn’t work so well? Do you employ any of the techniques mentioned above? Would your relationship happiness improve if you did?
I will return to you again in a few days to bring you the final two important considerations. Until then, if you like what you read here, tell your friends, subscribe, and feel free to e-mail me anytime at [email protected]