Most couples believe they need better communication skills and that would change their relationship for the better. They claim that they either argue because of misunderstandings or that one or the other don’t discuss their problems openly.

Communication (or lack of it) is often NOT the problem

Most couples have re-hashed issues over and over and they know what their partner’s position is. The issue is often that they do not accept the partner’s position and are “trying” to get them to change to see their side. And we know how that usually goes; right? It does not happen.

So often communication problems will boil down to “they are not listening to me or they would change their behavior”; or “they don’t care enough about me to change”. Neither of these thought processes are helpful to building and sustaining a fabulous relationship.

Breakdowns in communication are often the way in which each partner successfully maintains a balance of power.

Power and control issues usually exist when partners feel like what they value is being threatened. They generally are not assuming a self-empowered position when this happens. When there is a balance with both assuming self- empowered positions, communication can then become a bridge rather than a barrier.

Have you ever heard yourself or your partner say, “If you would just do it my way there wouldn’t be a problem”? When there are disagreements about what is happening in your relationship, it is just as important to focus on how the communication process is managing the blending of two worlds, as what needs to be said. Mutual respect is not conveyed in just words. Without mutual respect any communication is wasted time and effort.

Often power and control issues in relationships are occurring for very important reasons and therefore are emotionally charged.

Whether emotions are expressed or not, they are usually a driving force that often makes conflicts more deeply entrenched.

Some things to remember in your communications:

* Stay calm and well grounded in your own body and emotions. Sometimes that means delaying the conversations until you can be non-reactive. We have all had conversations with loved ones that escalated because we did not practice this type of communication.

* Practice respect and mutuality - It’s not “your way or the highway” if you truly desire a more loving relationship with your partner. One obvious way respect and mutuality occurs is being an active listener without a rebuttal to what your partner is saying. One thing that is very helpful is to get curious about what your partner is saying; i.e. “I’m curious about what you just said; and I don’t totally understand. Can you tell me more because I really want to understand you better?”

* If you do react, slow down, take a deep breath and notice what is happening and how you are feeling in your body before you continue talking. It is essential that we pay attention when we react. These reactions are indicators of those underlying beliefs about our world and ourselves. When we catch ourselves “behaving badly” this is powerful and can change the communication on a dime.

Author's Bio: 

Valerie is a Certified Coach and Business Consultant who supports family run businesses lead by husband-wife teams to thrive in business and in their relationship. She also works with individuals and couples desiring more in their relationships.

Her company offers couples groups, vision building programs, workshops, retreats, educational presentations and individual coaching. For more info visit: