Are you new in a relationship or have you been together a while? Are you still star-struck or has the sparkle worn off a bit (or a lot)? Wherever you find yourself there are some things to consider about how you talk and interact together. Learn to Couple Chat!
WORDS are powerful
The way you talk to each other says a lot about how you love and respect your partner. Words and actions have consequences. As a couple, there are patterns that can harm or heal, tear down or build up. There can be hidden expectations that may generate conflict within the relationship. No one can make you feel a certain way or tell you that you shouldn’t feel what you feel. The trick is not blaming the other person (or yourself) about how you feel. Name the emotion then work through it.
Sarcasm hurts!!! This is a way to send conflicting messages- your words say one thing but the tone and body language often says the opposite. Phrases like “That was real smart. “ or “Way to go, Ace.” may be intended to be funny but actually they are a verbal slap. Avoid sarcasm at all cost.
Get into the A.C.T.
Get into the practice of A.C.T-ing. (Acknowledge feelings, Communicate your limit, Target alternatives). Do this by taking a breath, figure out the word to describe your feeling, tell your partner, in as calm a tone as possible, what it is that you need at this moment, and work on what to do in the future. Phrases like “You always…” or “You never…” put up defensive walls and shut down communication. In my experience as a therapist (and as ½ of a couple), stating and owning how I feel about a situation is better received- “I feel exhausted because I’ve been chasing after the kids all day. I need a break for about 10 minutes”. This really does calm and clarify the couple chat!!!!
One of my parents’ favorite phrases was “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in proper proportion.” So… listen more than verbally trying to justify your position. Put a pause on thinking about your response and focus on connecting. Actively listening to your partner paves the way for greater connection and intimacy. Turn off distractions or go to a quiet place to really connect using the A.C.T. strategy mentioned above.
Sometimes couples need help resolving ongoing problems or heading off potential issues. At times you just need a “check-up” to help resolve a period of transition of stress. Some areas that may need the help of a skilled therapist could include issues with money, sex, infidelity, frequent conflict, and creating a work/family balance.
I can help you tune-up your Couple Chat skills so that you can get on track as a loving couple.
If you are interested in learning more about marriage and couples therapy please call me for a 15 minute consultation or to set up an appointment. 940-222-8703 Ext. 705. If you want to schedule your couples appointment right away, click here.