Sure. It's easy to feel gratitude about your relationship and partner when things are running smoothly. Wasn't it wonderful the way she surprised me with a love note in my briefcase the other day? Or, I just adore the way he knows when I need a bouquet of flowers at the end of a long week. But when communication seems to be stalled out or even explosive, it's not easy to appreciate where you are. If you can appreciate even the rocky roads of your relationship,however, communication problems dwindle or disappear and the love you share can expand exponentially.

Frank and Julia have been married for just about 5 years. Their marriage started out strong but as the years pass, communicating about particular topics are tripping them up more and more. Frank is more than ready to have children and Julia is hesitant so prefers to wait a little longer. Frank is a pretty quiet man and is longing to be a dad. As he and Julia go on their daily run through the park, he watches the families at the playground with envy. Julia, on the other hand, harbors fears that she won't be able to juggle her career-- which is just starting to take off-- and being the kind of mom she wants to be. She has made strong statements to Frank about not being ready for pregnancy or a child. It's gotten to the point that Frank feels he can't mention anything about babies or children around Julia without her feeling pressured, angry and storming out of the room. Frank wonders if they'll ever have children-- or be able to carry on a civil conversation again.

It might not be the question of when (or if) to have children that is a hot button issue for you and your partner. Perhaps the two of you tend to communicate differently and just about any conversation ends up feeling unsatisfactory to you both leaving you farther apart than you were before. But when you can stay present and stick with a difficult moment, you may find your connection deepen and grow.

Uncover and sort it out.
When Frank and Julia got engaged, neither of them realized that they'd end up years later having this intense conflict come between them. They actually talked about having children and both were enthusiastic about this; they even visited a baby store just for fun dreaming of their future family. When Frank finally asked Julia to sit down with him and work through this tense topic together, they were able to uncover where this dream changed for each of them.

For this conversation, Julia and Frank both tried to set aside their usual ways of reacting to one another and just listened with curiosity. Julia shared that she didn't realize how much having a successful career would mean to her and how worried she was that she'd lose everything she's worked so hard for if she takes time out to have a baby. She wants to be a mom but doesn't like what the price might be. Frank told Julia that he feels like a clock is ticking and he doesn't want to be too old to really have fun and play with his kids, as he experienced with his father. During this sharing, for perhaps the first time, both were able to more fully understand what the other is feeling.

Open to solutions and appreciate the expansion.
When you can listen and learn more about how your partner feels about any issue, you broaden your own understanding. And from this broader view, you can open up to solutions you might not have considered before. As Julia and Frank more clearly understand one another, the tension between them lessens. They are able to make a new agreement about when to start a family and how they plan to share parenting. They each feel hopeful about this new agreement. In fact, they both also feel grateful for this experience working together where they have learned to communicate differently about a touchy topic.

The plan you two come up with for your particular difficult issue may not be the ultimate solution. What is perhaps most important is that you both stick with it, listen more deeply to one another and open up more fully to working as the great team you are. In these moments, we encourage you to celebrate this wonderful achievement as you both have expanded in relationship love and connection.

Author's Bio: 

Susie and Otto Collins help people create more connected, loving relationships and are the authors of a new program Stop Talking on Eggshells For a free report on how to reverse what you don’t like in your relationships, visit Relationship Reverse Report