Couples Communication: Creating a Level Playing Field

Relationship Help Quick Tip

The Uneven Communication Playing Field

An uneven communication playing field is created whenever you and/or your partner move from the goal of mutual understanding to the position of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Once you believe that your feelings (your reality) about a particular issue are somehow superior to or more relevant than your partner’s, you’re setting up the conditions for imbalance, a breakdown in communication and ultimately, marital/relationship conflict.

Relationship Reality: Your experience and perceptions will differ from your partner’s. This is an objective fact of life (people see things differently). Rather than acknowledging (and stopping) at this fact, though, couples add an evaluative layer to this reality and it is this evaluation (“You’re wrong!”) that is corrosive to emotional intimacy.

It’s important for all of us to remember that our partner’s perspective and feelings are just as important as our own—even when these perspectives are confusing to us. Rather than judging these differences, work toward the goal of mutual understanding. Make the goal of understanding your communication mantra. And we should also remember that this communication ideal ultimately rests upon a foundation of mutual respect and concern for each other’s wellbeing.

What steps can you take to create a level communication playing field in your relationship?

Communication Resources/Workbooks

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All best,

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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