Jul 06

Are Poor Communication Skills Keeping You From Maintaining the Quality of Marriage Intimacy You Want in Your Relationship?

The No. 1 Obstacle

Many people say that the No. 1 obstacle when attempting to maintain [tag-tec]marriage intimacy[/tag-tec] and create a healthy, happy relationship is the lack of [tag-tec]good communication skills[/tag-tec].

What do you think? Are you in an intimate relationship? Do you believe it’s essential to have [tag-tec]good communication in your relationship[/tag-tec] in order to create the kind of closeness and connection you want?

If so, here’s a tip that we guarantee will help you do just that.

Start by truly understanding the other person’s point of view. Very often when couples start communicating about a problem or dissatisfaction the first thing they hear from their partner sounds like a criticism or a complaint. This is a critical point in the conversation and very often where the communication begins to break down.

This happens as often as it does because most people think in terms of strategies–what they want and the most effective way they think they can get it. This strategy often takes the form of a complaint–how you could change to help them get what they want or a criticism–what your doing “wrong” that is keeping them from getting what they want.

It’s Not About You

Understanding what someone deeply values or the need they’re trying to meet underneath the criticism or complaint is critical to creating genuinely satisfying relationships. Taking the lead in this area is something that you can do immediately to help improve the quality of your communication and in turn, your entire relationship.

Certainly, one way to find out what’s under their complaint is simply to ask them. It’s a place to start, but it’s not always the most effective way of getting to the truth about what a person really values. As we pointed out above, people often think in terms of their strategies as opposed the value or need that is stimulating the strategy.

If you began a conversation by talking about a problem in the relationship and you ask them what they want about the problem you may hear things like, “I want you to _____” (fill in the blank).

  • Spend more time with me
  • Stop being such a know-it-all
  • Listen when I’m talking, etc

Dig Deep

Clearly, these statements just tell you what they want you to do, not what they value, not what need they’re trying to meet. Getting to the underlying values hidden in these statements may require a little detective work on your part. Don’t just take their answers at face value; dig down beneath the surface to find out what values are at the base of what they want.

As an example, let’s dig under these statements and discover what the person might value that had them say what they did.

  • Spend more time with me, is probably stimulated by the longing for more connection or intimacy.
  • Stop being such a know-it-all, could be a desire for acknowledgment or appreciation for what they know.
  • Listen when I’m talking, might be coming from a wish to be understood clearly.

Once you have an idea about what the other person values and what’s most important to them, many other strategies will become obvious for helping them experience these essential qualities.

And for you, it will be much easier to relate them and want to support them then it would be if all you continue to hear was the criticism or complaints.

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5 Responses to “Are Poor Communication Skills Keeping You From Maintaining the Quality of Marriage Intimacy You Want in Your Relationship?”

  1. Craig says:

    Excellent tips. It’s amazing how long these communication issues can take to sort out; often a couple can be together for years before they really get a feel for how the other person communications and what hidden meanings are behind what they actually say.

    For example, how many husbands get defensive when their wives direct pent-up emotion and frustration toward them, even though that frustration is about something else completely? It takes a while to realize this is just venting, and should be responded to with hugs and words of support, not definsive arguing that only makes matters worse.

    You are so on target; understanding is so vital to a successful marriage. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  2. Thomas says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Communication is probably the most important aspect in a relationship. If a couple can’t practice healthy communication with one another they will never be able to grow and without growth the relationship will remain stagnant and boring until someone ends it.

    If couples can communicate with each other through things they will see some great relationship progression, rather than set-backs.

  3. Duddy says:

    “…the need they’re trying to meet underneath the criticism or complaint is critical to creating genuinely satisfying relationships.”

    I’m not sure if this statement is more simply stated than it is utterly profound or more utterly profound than it is simply stated. Criticisms disguise core-relationship needs and so fuel emotional detachment.

    As a professional counselor, I have a duty to tweet!


  4. Ken Jackson says:

    Communication in marriage is the vital glue to a successful marriage. We all know that we need to better communicate in a relationship, yet so few of us actualy do it. Common sense, is really not common practice and that is the key problem. In order to better communicate with your better half, we first need to understand and connect with our partner before we seek to be understood.

    Ken Jackson (a.k.a ecommunicationinmarriage.com)

  5. Anne says:

    I disagree. We do not all know “that we need to better communicate in a relationship.” My husband says simply: all couples miscommunicate; it just happens; there’s nothing to do about it; why does it bother you? That’s your problem, I have to go work.”

    He suspects any conversation is an attempt to manipulate, criticize subtly, bring up the past, etc. I tell him I can’t just “agree to disagree” on big issues such as the spacing of children, whether he quits his job, whether he decides to move us across the country, when he’ll retire…we have to discuss these issues.” He replies, “You said you liked sunny weather so I made plans for us to move south.” (I said once on a vacation I enjoyed the sunny weather). When I point out that he always gets his way, he says that’s because he makes plans and doesn’t waste time discussing them. When I say I wish we were closer, we shared more hopes and dreams, he says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. He says he doesn’t think in those terms and is baffled what “hopes” and “dreams” mean. He has no idea what”couple time” means but he is willing to go out if we see a movie and don’t have to talk.
    He loves best running from one task to another, multi-tasking like mad. He used to consider family time “wasted time,” but he’s come to see he should spend some time (dinner, holidays) with children.
    Yes, it’s very lonely…I make a lot of friends, read, give classes…He tells me he never is curious to know more about other people, only about what they are doing.
    Advice would be welcome.