Listen: Joanne Wilson says leaning into the truth is key to building healthy communication within a relationship.
Feeling frustrated in your relationship? A lack of communication may be the issue. But there’s hope! Relationship expert and neuropsychotherapist Joanne Wilson says there’s one simple thing we can all be doing, to enhance the communication in our relationships.
“Get to the truth and lean into it,” she says. “Don’t avoid or go into withdrawal.” Though there are often good reasons why we don’t want to be honest or assert ourselves, “when both partners can be truthful, that can be a great place to start. Honesty is key here,” Joanne explains.
Four Steps to Enhancing Relationship Communication
Communication is often at the base of relationship issues – and the first step forward is getting to the bottom of what the actual issue is.
It’s important to be honest, while being sure to listen to each other.
Here are Joanne’s top tips for getting to the truth and enhancing relationship communication:
1. Start with a compliment
Though a conversation may have been triggering and there’s temptation to fly off the handle and go in with all guns blazing, it’s important to start with a compliment. Consider mentioning something you appreciate about your partner. This will soften the delivery and make it easier for them to hear what you’re trying to say.
2. Explain what you’re struggling with
Now is the time to explain what has been bothering you, or what you’ve been feeling resentful about. It’s important to use ‘feeling’ words. For example, rather than saying “you always… ” try saying “when this happens, I feel… ”
Using this language will enable your partner to more clearly hear what you’re saying, rather than going straight into defensive mode.
3. Repair (the listener’s job)
If your partner is trying to communicate with you about something that has been bothering them, listen to what they’re saying and actively lean into the conversation. Acknowledge and validate what they’re saying, ask clarifying questions and make sure they feel heard. It’s important not to get defensive. Even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, it’s important to validate their perspective. Once they feel heard, take time to explain your perspective and your experience.
4. Finish well
Consider finishing the conversation by discussing one thing you both need from each other in the coming week. Make plans to proactively support each other, so you can both move forward with hope.
By following these four steps, you’ll be learning how to get to the truth in your relationship.
Listen to the full conversation in the player above.
For more from Joanne Wilson tune in each Saturday from 12pm or find more from The Relationship Rejuvenator online.
Feature image: Joe Yates on Unsplash