Communication Skills Will Not Solve Your Problem – Part 2 of 2
A couple has an agreement with each other. One partner isn’t keeping the agreement. How can they stay connected? How does the couple move from the intellectual fight into their hearts?
If the other partner isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, how do they handle the common issue of trying to prove each other right or wrong? One person’s needs are not being met.
One person is not doing their part in the relationship. There’s another emotional conversation that’s happening all the time when couple’s are fighting, and it’s not related to the topic that the couple thinks they’re arguing about.
That conversation needs to be located and understood by both partners for them to reconnect. The deeper reasons why they are disconnected need to be brought out and understood, before they learn to approach problems from a calmer place.
It’s common to look at childhood dysfunction, or past relationship history to really understand what is happening with a couple. But the most direct path is learning what has occurred between them, how hurts inside the relationship have contributed to them shutting down to each other.
As the counselor, I observe HOW they fight, to understand how their interactions reinforce further negative interactions. How is their eye contact? Do they get verbally abusive? How defensive are they? Does one partner cry, and does one get angry?
There is a Negative Pattern, or Cycle, that occurs with the couple, where one reaction causes another reaction, and they have often been stuck there for a long time. The awareness of that Cycle is essential to breaking these bad habits.
When a couple begins healing this negativity, they begin to see and name each negative interaction, and that gets them half way there to solving it.
Soon they will see what to replace it with, and that the Negative Pattern is the enemy, not each other. As this awareness builds, the Real Conversation, the one that includes how they have hurt each other, occurs.
At that point they become more aware that solving practical problems has been so difficult because this deeper conversation has always been lurking in the shadows.
Only when a couple interrupts the Negative Patterns, and learns how those painful, bad habits have interrupted their connection, can they move towards healing… towards Understanding Each Other. Then all problems can be solved from a much calmer, easier place for the couple.
See Part One in the blog section for the beginning of this question in video #1 with Derek & Eileen.