“I love him (her), but I don’t like him (her).” That’s a comment I hear in my couples mediation practice from wives and husbands alike. As I investigate the sentiment behind such comments, it turns out that the couple might love each other, but they aren’t very nice to each other.
Betrayals of confidence, unnecessary fights, dismissive thinking and unintentional rudeness tend to crop up after the glory days of the newlywed years pass by. As I write in my bestselling book, “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In,” even the best of us can suffer from communication blunders that wreak havoc on a relationship.
To put your relationship back on track, check out the blunders below, and make a small change in your words to get big results!
Blunder #1: Loose Lips
If your honey demands to know, “Why did you tell them that about me?” then you’re guilty of airing your mate’s dirty laundry. Prevent unnecessary fights and unify the homefront today with a conversation about which topics are private versus public.
Blunder #2: Silent Nights
If your spouse exclaims, “You never listen to me!” then you’re guilty of being uninvolved and non-responsive in conversations. In the future, make small comments when your spouse is talking to you, such as, “Really,” “That’s interesting,” and/or “I never thought of it that way,” to show that you are listening and attentive.
Blunder #3: Kitchen Sink Talking
If your sweetie announces, “You always bring up the past,” then you’re guilty of turning a molehill into a mountain. Focus on the problem at hand, or you will never reach a solution and you can count on recycling the argument.
Blunder #4: The “Whatever” Attitude
If your mate shouts, “Don’t you have an opinion on anything?” then you’re guilty of taking a backseat in your relationship. Offer an opinion to show that you care about the topic at hand.
Blunder #5: My Way or the Highway Thinking
If your darling asks, “Why does it always have to be your way?” then you’re guilty of dismissing your mate’s opinions. Throw out your way and your mate’s way, and unite to find a third option both of you can live with.
Blunder #6: Priority Mix-up
If your spouse complains, “You put lots of things first, what about me?” then you’re guilty of taking your mate for granted. Ask your mate what you can specifically do to show him/her how important he/she is to you. Then, do it.
Blunder #7: Negative No-no
If your mate begs, “Can’t you be happy with anything?” then you’re guilty of being a negative fault-finder. End every evening by telling your mate something that was really good that day.
Blunder #8: Honey-Do Lists
If you greet your mate in the morning with a “Honey, can you do this today?” then you’ve put politeness to the side. Instead, give your mate a warm, “Good morning!” to start the day, because after all, it is a good morning because you’re together.
Blunder #9: All or Nothing Thinking
If your spouse exclaims, “Can’t I do anything right?” that means you’re guilty of all-or-nothing thinking. Focus on giving partial credit by first identifying the good part, and then the part that needs improvement.
Blunder #10: I Am Who I Am
If you defend yourself by saying, “I am who I am and I can’t change now,” then you are a relationship-destroyer. All people grow and change while in relationships because life’s circumstances and expectations change. Denying that you are changing doesn’t make it so. Acknowledge to your mate and yourself that you are changing. Do it with consciousness and healthy purpose alongside your mate, and then you will be living life and love to the fullest.
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About the author:
Laurie Puhn, J.D., is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator and premier conflict resolution expert. She is the author of the best-selling book, “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In,” and she is quickly becoming a popular new voice of the 21st century. You can hear her informed commentary, relationship advice and humor on major news outlets including the “Fox and Friends,” “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The Early Show,” “20/20″ and “Imus in the Morning.” Puhn also writes the nationally syndicated column, Fight Less, Love More. Visit her online at www.fightlesslovemore.com.