Communication Issues and Solutions
Having effective communication, knowing how to talk to one another, is one of the pillars of a good relationship. When couples don’t know how to communicate, a lot of other problems appear in the relationship, such as lack of trust, lack of support, disconnection, etc., and their relationship may suffer or fail. Read below the most common signs of problems in a relationship to help you make the first phone call to consult with a marriage therapist or relationship expert.
Signs and Symptoms of a communication problem in your relationship
- There are frequent arguments
- Arguments cause one or both significant upset
- There are difficulties resolving problems
- There are frequent misunderstandings during discussions
- One of both partners view the disagreements as “the tip of the iceberg” for bigger problems (such as lack of love or respect), rather than a specific problem
Causes of communication issues in a relationship
Often times couples don’t know how to communicate because they never lived in an environment where there was an effective communication style. People come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different families. Your parents (and grandparents) may not have learned themselves how to communicate with their spouses, and perhaps never taught you how to communicate with others.
At times, communication fails because a partner cannot identify the cues that the argument is impending (triggers such as their own body sensations, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors).
Sometimes partners don’t know how to identify times that are conducive to discussing issues or get help solving problems. For example, the partner who blurs out all little things that went wrong with the children right after the other partner step in the house.
There are some blocks for good communication, such as putting a wall (ignoring what the other have to say to avoid conflict or convey disapproval), criticizing (verbally attacking personality or character, name-calling), attacking a person with the intent of insult or abuse, and defensiveness (reversing the attack, putting self as a victim).
How I treat partners with communication issues
In the sessions, I ask couples to go over an example of how their communication failed and I watch for the blocks that are preventing good communication. I then explain and demonstrate how to communicate by using active listening, reflection, and teach partners to find the right words that promote open communication and movement towards a solution.
Typical outcomes of communication issues in couples’ treatment
Couples learn how to communicate within a few weeks, and they keep practicing their new communication style throughout the treatment. After couples learn how to communicate their problems and inner feelings, or even when they need “venting”, it gets easier for them to move to other issues present in the relationship.
FAQ about communication issues
Communication issues are often the tip of the iceberg. Often times, couples have deeper problems within the relationship or within themselves that need to be resolved before treatment ends. Since this is a big variable, it is impossible to predict how long the treatment will last. Most couples stay in treatment for about 1 to 2 years.
At first, couples will attend sessions weekly, or twice-a-week, depending on the presenting issues. Later on, treatment may move to every-other-week sessions.
Sure you can. You can always learn new ways to communicate, and hopefully your partner will learn from you. However, for optimal results for the relationship, it is imperative that both partners be engaged in treatment.
Consult with a psychologist to get help with your communication issues right away. Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove uses many techniques to treat individuals and couples who are suffering in their relationship.