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How do you talk to your partner?




 

I have an experiment for you:

How about the following days, you take a step back to observe the way you talk to your partner, wife, or husband?

Then do a small evaluation and see how satisfied you are. Do you like the way you communicate with your loved one or is there something you’d like to change?


 

There is a reason behind my experiment.


As I have discovered while reading H. Markman’s book „Fighting for Your Marriage“, there are four main types of talk partners engage in:


  1. Casual talk. Is the necessary talk for daily events (Who’s picking up kids? What time are you going to be home? What do we have for dinner?). I call it the operational talk because it is the one necessary to make your relationship or family function daily.


  1. Conflict talk. It is the kind of talk we engage in when dealing with inevitable conflicts, issues, and disagreements. If we keep it respectful, it is a useful and constructive talk. But if we add negativity talk, blaming, and critique, or no talk at all (ignoring), we fail to use these conversations productively.


  1. Friendship talk. Very common at the beginning of a relationship when we want to dive into our beloved inner world, when we show interest in his/her life, and when we talk just as we do with our best friend. It is the kind of talk that builds and maintains intimacy, and connection.


  1. Support talk. It is one of the best ways we have to convey to your partner that you are there for him or her and that we care about their feelings. Support talk involves listening to your partner when he/she is upset about something, validating their feelings, offering advice only when requested, and being non-judgemental.


Can you identify which kind of talk you and your partner engage more? Did something change since you started being together?


 

At the beginning of our relationship, we tend to do our best to make ourselves interesting and to show interest to our partner. As the feelings become more secure, we switch our focus to something else (career, children), and inevitably we invest less in our relationship. Life moves on.

Long-term that can make our partner perceive less care, less attention, and less support leading to feeling disconnected and questioning even the relationship.


Observing couples that are visiting my office I noticed that there are sometimes huge differences in how partners talk to each other. These differences come from:


How long the couple has been together and the shared experiences they had.

Whether they have kids or not, how important one’s career is.

The level of individual stress and the capacity of each partner to regulate their negative emotions.

The skills they have in communication and dealing with conflicts.


 

Why Talk awareness is important?


We all want to have a safe and loving environment when we come home. The way we interact and talk to our partner can make it, or break it.

It is both partner’s responsibility (and even more if they have children) to live and model a respectful, caring, and intimate relationship, with a strong base of friendship and support. Without the last too, you only have a functional relationship and that might not be enough for many.

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