There is a difference between having great talks with your partner and communicating to your partner. Most of us can have a laugh and good chats with our firefighter. But when there is something more serious to convey or your needs aren’t getting met, or his aren’t, that’s when the fine art of communication needs to be practiced. If you and your partner are great communicators together, I am giving you a standing ovation! If you aren’t yet, I will give you one…. one day. Trust me when I tell you, most couples say that communicating to each other, especially over more serious matters, is very difficult – so you are not alone. Both my husband and I had fun, great talks and lots of love, but when it was time to deal with more serious situations, we SUCKED!
However, now we are great communicators and I have learned after all of these years, I don’t need to yell at him – yay me! He was also terrible quite frankly so he is not getting off the hook. My Tom was a rug sweeper. He was eager to get back to our jovial relationship. Serious stuff was to be put away and forgotten – until the next time. Here are some things I would learn along the way. These are some Fire Wife Notes I pass onto you my dear. The sooner you learn to communicate, the less years you will waste. Do not compare yourself to anyone, not even the stock photo above. They are actors, or models, maybe don’t even know one another. Today my hubby and I are a good 9/10 as far as communication goes. If we could do it you can too. There is no such thing as perfection, but communicating with aplomb gets you pretty close. XOXO
Priming the Pump
Process Your Feelings First (It will take practice and self-discipline) If we are knee jerk with our feelings toward another person, we will get a knee jerk response. So, if you are furious, worried or frustrated about something, process your feelings first. Ask yourself why you are feeling what you are and then think about what would make you feel better keeping a solution in mind. You can also process your feelings by first getting out any anger or frustration or worries by writing a 3-page rampage letter to the person – saying whatever you feel about the situation, no holds bar – and then DO NOT SEND IT. BURN THE LETTER OR TEAR IT TO SHREDS, eat it if you must, but do not give it to them. The point of writing a 3-page rampage letter is to get out all of your anger from the amygdala part of your brain – the part that can make you impulsive when you are mad! When you get your anger out in a letter, you will feel so much better and by the end on page three, you’ll not only feel better but you will also solve the problem and will be in a better position to express your needs. Also, if you are a shy person or a person who has really had a tough time communicating your needs, use this letter to practice what you would like to say. We will talk about assertive communication soon too – it’s also in my book Fire Wife.
Exercise if even for 10 minutes: Another thing that really helps, as you probably already know is a power walk. Just like that letter, getting some fresh air and going for a good walk or run will alleviate your feelings into more hope about the situation. If you can’t get out of the house, hide in the bathroom and do some jumping jacks and run on the spot. Put some good music on and dance!
Self-Reflect: Next when you feel clear, think about what you need that you are not getting. Make a plan and write it down.
Next, Set a Date to Talk: Text your spouse or call them and let them know you’d like to talk to them about stuff and see what day and time works for them and for you.
Learn to Communicate a Positivity Sandwich: Start with a positive to your spouse (I appreciate and thank you for listening to me – hearing me out – while we talk). Then tell them what you need, your concerns, your worries. Say what you think will work, lay out the plan. Then finish up with more positive words about what you think is possible and the potential in the situation if you two work on something together as a team.
Listening: You remember the old saying we have two ears and one mouth for a reason? Listening to your partner is very important too. We are all human.
Set Boundaries up around communication: It must be respectful with everyone’s dignity kept in tact.
PS The Other Day my hubby and I had a little argument. We were trying not to but there was friction so the two of us went for a walk. After we were making nice conversation and walking for a while, I asked him if we could talk about “the situation.” I won’t get into the situation but he said yes and I was honest and vulnerable with him. He then had time to be honest and vulnerable with me and was empathetic. I said to him, “You know what I would have liked to have heard from you?” And then I said it. We held hands. We got to another level. We love each other. What can I say. It takes time and practice and sometimes a lot of sorrys – but if you keep on keepin on, you both will get there.
Sound easy? No, not really. It will take practice my dear, especially if you are learning how to communicate your feelings. But you will get there! And it will feel good! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.