Jul 9, 2019
Brian Mayer takes another look at communication. This
episode might be helpful for those of you who have a more direct
communication style or were brought up in a home where everybody
spoke their mind and no one seemed to care who they offended.
Well now that you are in another relationship, let’s talk about
whether or not this is productive. We hope you enjoy today’s
message. For more information and additional resources please
visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- Ever heard of the phrase, “would you rather be right or
be married?” All too often we don’t really think too
much about this before we let our comments fly.
- Often people will respond to this by saying, “well this
is just the way I am” or “my partner is just too
sensitive” or “I don’t have time for all this dancing around, I
just need to get to the answer”
- This may have worked in your childhood, this may have even
worked in a past relationship, it often works well at work because
we get paid to spot problems and to solve them. In a
relationship not everything is a problem that needs to be
- Ever heard of the cliché, “when you hold a hammer,
everything begins to look like a nail?” In other
words when you view everything through the lens of a
problem/solution framework, then you urgently must get things
- The problem with this mentality is that this usually slows the
process down. Why is this? This happens because our
partner presents us with something that is bothering them and
they are simply looking for emotional connection and not
presenting a problem to be solved.
- In fact sometimes attempting to solve the problem too
quickly actually causes the problem to deepen.
- So should we force our opinion when we believe it is
true and must be said? Often the argument around
this issue is whether or not the issue itself is true, this
is the wrong argument.
- Encourage the two of you to stop arguing over whether
something is true or not and simply hear the emotions that are
being present. And work to connect with the emotions
you are hearing.
- Sometimes though this is more difficult because we
often hear anger or frustration instead of what underlies
that is usually fear or something similar.
- So let’s talk about some ways that you can stay away from
saying something even if you believe it to be true.
- Get curious. Again as stated earlier,
listen for the emotions in your partner and look to connect to
- Ask questions to gain clarity on the emotions
and not on the “events.”
- Show empathy. Empathy is simply
connecting with the feelings in your partner that you have inside
of yourself. So if you hear fear or loneliness think about a
time where you felt this way and then express that connection to
- Explore when you are triggered. A
trigger is something inside of you that gets poked when your
partner says something to you. Ask yourself, “why is this so
triggering and bothersome?” What sore spot is this getting
- Rather than saying something to tear your partner down, how
about saying it in a different way. I once
had a male client say that he believed there was nothing wrong with
calling his partner “fat” because he said it was true. Now we
could have argued over whether or not that was true, but honestly
that is a subjective argument. Instead, we talked about the
appropriateness and also the negative feedback loop that this would
- Use humor when appropriate. This one is
tricky because if you use it at the wrong time or too often then it
can backfire and you partner may believe that you aren’t really
there for them. But used appropriately can be extremely
- This episode is back to basics and really can
apply to your relationship whether or not you are in a subsequent
marriage after divorce. But it is probably more important to
us who have been in marriages that have not worked out so that we
can begin to work on the patterns that may have gotten us
in trouble in the first place.
Communication comes up over and over again as an issue that we
all could continue to work on. So don’t get up but keep
working and take off the problem solving glasses and put on
the emotion seeking glasses and your relationship will be
better for it for sure.