It happened as my partner was thinking about picking up a new hobby, which she then planned to turn into a business. She had come up with great ideas and so naturally was sharing her excitement with me.
’’I’m going to do this, and that! And by doing that, this will happen!’’, she enthusiastically said.
Though I was happy to see her in this state, my past experiences had taught me that some of the things she was telling me weren’t really good ideas and wouldn’t work, so I instinctively thought about mentoring her a little bit.
’’I think that’s good.. but this won’t work very well this way. Instead, you should do this and that.’’, I replied, pointing out all the flaws in her reasoning.
For men clueless about relationships, what I had said may not sound like a big deal, but I had committed a big mistake without even knowing it. This led her to start pouting and griping about how I didn’t accept her feelings and instead was shutting her down.
What’s fascinating is that I was actually helping her – or so I thought, from my perspective! But what was help for me, wasn’t for her. It wasn’t until after we had a discussion about it that it actually clicked: men and women do communicate in different ways, and knowing those differences is essential for a relationship to thrive.
What I realised later on was that I fell prey to my instinct as a man – which is wired to try to solve problems each time it perceives one. It’s a magnificent mechanism that has propelled mankind to great heights, but which was detrimental to my relationship.
My inborn problem-solver-instinct had prevented me from seeing the true nature of my partner – which, as a woman, is the exact opposite. Whereas men are inborn problem-solvers, women are more about sharing, acceptance and understanding. The truth is that she couldn’t care less about whether or not her plans were sound – she just wanted to go for it.
Everything changed for me when I made this significant shift in mindset. From this moment on, I wouldn’t try to solve her problems unless she specifically asks it. Instead, I was to listen and let her express how she felt.
Realising those differences and adapting myself made a big difference in my relationship.
Here are 3 additional ways that you can improve communication in your relationship:
1 – Be A Good Listener
Let’s be honest: no one likes to talk to someone whose favorite topic is themselves. Especially when this person simply don’t seem to care about what we say.
The same can be said for relationships: not being a good listener can destroy a relationship. I’m sure you brought your A-game when you were in the courtship phase and your excitement was at its peak. But just because this excitement has worn off doesn’t mean that you should take them for granted.
If you want to take things one step further, just don’t listen: show them that you’re listening! This means nodding, approving or even building on something they previously said. They’ll love you for that.
2 – Complain, But Don’t Criticise
Even the most romantic, healthy, playful relationships have ups and down. The wife tired of folding the laundry, or the husband wanting to relax watching TV after a long day at work even though her wife wants to talk.. there are many instances where complaining has its place.
First, it helps not to grow into resentment. Sharing how we feel is essential for our well-being. Second, it helps improving the situation by telling your other half how you would like them to change.
However, the tricky part lies in how you say it: most people confuse complaining with criticising. In his book, ”The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work”, John Gottman explains, ”A complaint focuses on a specific behavior or event. A criticism is global and expresses negative feelings or opinions about the other’s character or personality.”
3 – Be Honest
Lies and betrayals are the worst ingredients in a relationship, it automatically blocks the other person to be vulnerable to you.
Honesty means telling the truth, even when it’s not pleasant to hear. Your partner will thank you for that. But It doesn’t mean being aggressive: taking your partner’s feelings into consideration is extremely important. It shows you deeply care for them.
I’m always reminded of the story of a husband who told his wife he hated her. Although it’s honest, the way it’s phrased is horrible and certainly not said in an attempt to resolve things.
Trust takes years to build, but it can collapse in a moment – so don’t take any chance and always stay truthful to your partner.