Do the phrases: “You never listen” or “It’s always your fault” sound familiar? If so, you are making common mistakes that couples make when communicating. Regardless of how long you’ve been in a relationship, these communication mistakes can take their toll.
Three Big Communication Mistakes Couples Make
1. Bringing Up Past Mistakes
Couples upset with each other often bring up previous mistakes from the relationship. This can lead to each partner becoming defensive. When upset, focus on discussing the current situation and keep all discussion in the present.
2. The Need to Win
Many people want to win arguments--which may lead to miscommunication and put a wedge in between a couple. The desire to win can lead to name calling and not hearing each other. When upset about something, it helps to take time to calm down and process what you want to express before talking with the other person. Once talking to the other person, express yourself out of love and respect for each other. Not to dominate or win.
3. Interrupting the Partner and Not Listening
Interrupting your partner during discussions can lead to feelings of invalidation and show a lack of support. To help avoid this, focus on hearing what the other person is saying so that you can repeat back what you have heard. Once the person has finished, respond out of love using "I" statements to express your thoughts and feelings. Example: "I feel confused by what happened." versus "You always confuse me!"
Learning to constructively discuss differences of opinion will have a lasting effect on relationships. Give your spouse the same courtesy that you would a coworker or friend.
If you need additional help learning to communicate with your spouse, consider talking to a Catholic Charities counselor. They have helped couples like Jean and Cameron have a happy marriage and many others to rekindle the spark with their spouse.
Anna Smith has been a counselor at Catholic Charities for 13 years. Family is important to her and she likes to read in her free time.