What IS the sole difference between men and women? What is it about relationships that they fail? I can guess what you're thinking - well, Tara, it's because people feel misunderstood, unappreciated, unloved, etc. I hear you on those points, and I agree. However, my question goes further. What is at the core of these feelings?! Feelings like the ones listed don't just happen overnight. They start slow and then build and build until, eventually, they explode! Think of it as boiling water. The water is analagous to the negative feelings. The burner, however, is where it all starts. If the burner were never on, then the water would never boil.
So, what IS at the core of relationship failures, differences between men and women, and all the like?!
One. Simple. Word.
That's it!!! Communication is the dominant force in relationship woes. Whether the communication is about feelings, cleaning, sex, parenting, or the like, the common factor is communication.
I realize that this seems too simple of an explanation, but it really isn't. Communication can be a hard thing to perfect, especially between two spouses, AND when there are different methods of communication. That's right. There are many types of communication. We have the passive-aggressive communicator, the nagger, and the exploder. These three are just the tip of the iceberg. What I want you to do is read the description of each of these types and figure out where you fit.
The passive aggressive communicator is the king/queen of subtle hints. They will never say exactly what they want, but you better believe they'll hint at it. Here's a good example: Cindy wants Bob to help with the dishes more often. She feels like she always does the dishes and she is getting downright fed up with it! Being the P.A.C., do you think she tells him that she would like more help? Nope.
Cindy says to Bob, "Oh man, honey, did you see all those dishes left by the sink?" Bob, "Yup."
C, "Yeah, there are a lot. I guess one of us will have to pick them up sometime."
C, "Yeeaahhh. I mean, there are just so many. Maybe we could do them together sometime?"
B, "That's fine."
Well, that doesn't seem so bad, right? Bob seemed willing to help. WRONG. Bob IS willing to help, but he was not given a date and time, which is what he needs. If you fall in the realm of a P.A.C., a good habit to get into is setting specifics for your plans/goals/chores, etc. When you set and communicate specifics, then there leaves no room for later, when Bob says, "Oh, well honey, I didn't know you wanted my help tonight! I'm watching the game! Tell you what, I'll help tomorrow. How about that?"
Do you think you're a P.A.C.? What else could you do to be more assertive in communication with your spouse?!
Alright. This little communication style is never very fun for the recipient. Have you ever known somebody who just can't seem to let anything go? This somebody could be a boss, a spouse, a friend, or a family member. You probably don't have to think long and hard to immediately pinpoint a certain someone who fits the bill. The nagger communication style is one that is like waves on a rock - erosion. The nagger will nag and nag and nag until whatever it is they're nagging at is done. What the nagger doesn't realize is that he/she is only making the recipient practice selective attention. The nagger doesn't stop at saying something once. The nagger says things over and over. Does this example sound like anybody you know?
Mom, "Tommy, clean your room. It's disgusting and a mess. I don't know how anybody could live there!"
Tommy, "Whatever, fine.
M, "Don't you whatever me. You better clean your room right now!"
T, "I AM!! Geez!"
M, "When I come in that room, it better be clean mister!" (walks in room) "Look at this! This is disgusting! And empty that trash can! Ugh, how my son lives in this, I don't know."
You get this gist. The nagger provides a constant tirade of verbal orders, directions, and/or criticisms. Does this sound like you?! Here's a good practice to get into. Say something once, and let it go. Yes, that's it. Let it go. That will be the hardest part of the whole practice, but it will make you AND the recipient feel so much better!! Well, to be honest, you may be high strung at first (because all of those words you want to spew are going to drive you crazy), but you will eventually be happy, and, as stated, the recipient will be happy! The positive is the future relationship. :)
Does the Nagger sound like you?!
This is one near and dear to my heart. While I am sure that I have used al three communication styles, this is the one that I always fell back on - and also the one that I hated the most because of how I felt during the whole process!!
Do you know that person who gets really mad, but they never say anything? This person will just stew under their breath about how unhappy they are, but when faced with their adversary, they'll smile and act as if everything is okay?! Or how about the person who fumes and fumes and fumes until they explode over something that seems mundane (men and women out there, I know you've dated somebody like this!!). Well, you guessed it, this type of person is an Exploder! This person is most like the boiling water. They won't say much to your face, because they expect that you know why they're mad when, in reality, that's not the case...
Are you this person?!
The reason I write about these is because of this: it is vital that we know and understand ourselves and our own communication styles before we start to "solve" our problems. Not knowing how you come across to somebody when you're communicating with them (especially a spouse during a tiff) is like fighting with the gloves off. It is SO important that we look inward and try to figure ourselves out. Really, we can't do anything but change ourselves, so why not start their with our communication styles?!
Keep on bettering yourself! It only gets better from this point on!! :)