There have been so many times in my sessions with couple’s where the desire to “communicate better” is the key goal seeking treatment. Communication is such a critical component to understanding your spouse or partner – without it – we simply cannot connect. Great relationships are centered in the foundation of clarity, not mind reading.
In order to improve communication you have to make the decision to listen. Non-violent communication (NVC) is a form of communication that allows each partner to share their needs and strategies to meet one or more of these needs. Individuals who practice NVC share authenticity in their communication, increased understanding of their partner’s basic needs, a deeper connection that contributes to conflict resolution. (The Center of Nonviolent Communication, 2020)
There are a couple easy steps to follow in practicing NVC with your partner and spouse:
First and foremost – you want to be clear in expressing yourself without blaming or criticizing your partner.
This phase incorporates what you observes which includes what you see, hear, remember, imagine, fear (free from evaluations) that does or does not contribute to my well-being
Ex: “When I (see, hear, etc) …”
This phase addresses how you feel (emotion or sensation rather than thoughts) in relation to what you observed in the previous phase
Ex: “I feel…”
What you need or value (rather than a preference, or a specific action) that causes the feelings:
Ex: “…because I need/value…”
The concrete action you would like taken:
Ex: “Would you be willing to…?”
This step is critical as you are enriching the relationship without demanding a change.
See if next time, you can follow these four phases in communicating with your spouse about what is important or of value to you. This will enrich the bond you share with one another and create a solid foundation of respect, empathy and connection. The Center for Nonviolent Communication is a great online resource that can provide more information on how to reconnect with communication.
If you would like to speak with a counselor about strengthening the communication within your relationships, call Tx Harmony Counseling at (832) 352-1600 or contact us here.