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Observing Your Communication Style: Are you Listening?

I remember a candid conversation I had with my therapist over 10 years ago. I was telling her about someone I was attracted to. One of the qualities I mentioned was how they communicated with their children. They were attentive, they listened, they were supportive and encouraging. She was quick to adjust my expectations. She said "Sweetie, how a man interacts with his children will not guarantee that will be the way he interacts with you." A frequent problem statement in couples therapy is, you guessed it, "communication." People often reject the notion that both they and their partner have the necessary skills to deepen their intimacy and eliminate the defensive maneuvers. Pay attention to the skills you use when you communicate with your child (under the age of 11). Just notice how you give your child eye contact, how you stop whatever you are doing, how you slow down your tone, how you soften your voice, how you summarized what you heard them say, how you provided a loving touch and how you patiently waited for a response to ensure they understood your point of view. Imagine what would happen if you applied these same skills in communicating with your partner. Try it and get back to me.

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