How to Hear and Be Heard in Your Relationship
One of the most common reasons for couples to come in to couples counseling in Potomac MD is to work on communication. Often one member of a couple will say, “He just doesn’t listen!” or think, “I know she heard me, but did she really understand what I said?” Discussions can turn into misunderstandings that leave both parties feeling hurt and invalidated.
Sometimes, one member of a couple will avoid bringing up an issue, and may expect their partner to figure out what’s wrong. While it can feel uncomfortable to bring up issues with you partner, it is important to remember that your partner can’t read your mind. Clear communication is a tool to avoid hurt feelings and bring you and your partner closer together.
When communicating clearly, use a soft startup and use “I” statements to express a need (“I feel worried when I don’t hear from you all day, I’d love it if you could check in before you come home”). By clearly expressing your desire in a calm way, your partner is much more likely to respond favorably (Think about this sentence in contrast to “Why don’t you ever call me?!”)
Of course, to have effective communication there must also be an attentive listener. As with couples counseling, Potomac MD couples learn that to do this, one should hear out what their partner has to say without interrupting, and then reflect back what they hear to their partner, to ensure the message was received (I’m hearing that you worry when you don’t hear from me during the day, and you’d like me to check in more often”). This way, the partner sending the message feels heard, and the one receiving it ensures they are truly hearing it.
This practice might seem uncomfortable or unnatural at first, but can be extremely helpful for increasing communication. In order to have your needs met, it is important to communicate clearly with your partner. Both understanding your partner and feeling heard can increase feelings of intimacy within your relationship.
If you would like to increase communication in your own relationship, reach out to one of our therapists at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates to help you begin.
Lindsey Hoskins & Associates provides individual, couple, and family therapy in downtown Bethesda, MD. Call or email us today to set up a free telephone consultation for couples counseling in Potomac MD.