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Posted January 25, Reviewed by Matt Huston.
Are you having trouble talking about your feelings with someone you love? Does your partner run the other way any time you bring up your feelings? If so, this may be good news for you: According to recent research, talking about your feelings is not the only—or even necessarily the best—way for couples to maintain healthy, happy and successful relationships. I have written a lot about how hard it can be to talk about feelings. As I wrote in my last postif you have difficulty communicating your feelings, you're not alone.
Here are six ways to improve emotional communication and deepen your relationship, without ever even mentioning "the F Word" feelings :. Make small talk. You may think talking about a TV show or the weather is far from connecting emotionally, but these supposedly inificant details, like a "deep" discussion of your feelings, can improve your emotional ties to your partner. In those tiny details, Sullivan believed, could be found clues to who a person is.
Bored when your partner recounts the details of a plumbing problem or the movie he or she watched last night? Maybe it really feels like too much information. You may feel like asking for tiny details will seem rude, intrusive, or critical. Share them.
A recent study published in Psychological Science found that we feel closer to others when we can talk about experiences we have in common. I have found, for example, that couples having relationship difficulties can take a first step toward repairing a rupture by talking about their children, especially if they can be encouraged to speak of pleasant moments or cute incidents.
Of course, since many conflicts occur around the rearing of families, you will have to be careful not to bring up moments that will trigger further discord. But even if something you say does start a conflict, you can find a shared moment by recognizing that you were both trying to figure out the best solution for that you love. These shared experiences do not have to be in words. A second study reported in Psychological Science showed that words are not necessary for the shared feelings to improve a relationship.
Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a tiny action can be worth even more. Or if one or both of you are not the hand-holding type, simply stand so that some small part of your body makes contact, even if only for a few seconds. These are times when talking about the experience can actually destroy the moment of intimacy. Just share it in silence. Listen carefully. Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another.
Interestingly, active listening can also involve interruptions for clarification or even disagreements. If you interrupt, be sure to ask permission. Then ask something that is clearly related to clarifying what your partner is telling you.
If you disagree with the overall concept or with their handling of a situation, wait until they have finished talking before you express disagreement. But if you are not sure that they have accurately described something, you can ask for more clarification—without accusing them of lyingof course. Go back to s 1 and 2 on this list.
Simply spending time together doing unimportant and supposedly meaningless activities—reading the paper, listening to music, watching TV, or doing laundry—can be more important to the health of a relationship than talking about feelings. It may even be more important than talking at all. Boothby, Margaret S. Psychological Science December vol. Driver and John M. Family Process Volume 43, Issue 3, s —, September Diane Barth, L. Diane Barth L. Off the Couch.
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How To Communicate With Your Spouse More Effectively – 7 Keys