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10 Things Every Couple Needs To Stop Doing

10 Things Every Couple Needs To Stop Doing

Most couples develop some bad habits over time that can wreak havoc on the relationship. Here are 10 things every couple needs to stop doing before they damage their relationship.

1. Giving Your Partner Your Partial Attention

Checking email, texting, or watching TV while your partner is in the same room doesn’t constitute quality time together. However, many people have difficulty unplugging and giving their partner their undivided attention long enough to hold a real conversation. Give your partner your full attention so you can truly connect with one another.

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2. Skimping on the Compliments

You can never give too many compliments. However, as a relationship matures, compliments often begin to dwindle. Give your partner plenty of encouragement. Offer praise and genuine words of encouragement to help your partner navigate each day with confidence.

3. Keeping Score

Keeping score and trying to ensure that everything is fair can make couples argue more like siblings. Everything doesn’t have to be fair in your romantic relationship. Trying to keep a tally of who has done the most or who has earned something will only damage your relationship. Focus on giving to your partner rather than worrying about what you’re getting.

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4. Not Being a Person of Your Word

Your partner needs to know you are trustworthy. Make promises that you’ll follow through with. Don’t say things that you don’t mean and don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Building trust, loyalty, and security in the relationship means that your partner needs to know you are a person of your word.

5. Talking More Than Listening

Communication should involve listening more than you speak. However, most people focus more on getting their point across rather than truly trying to understand what their partner has to say. Focus on listening to your partner and developing an understanding of your partner’s point of view before trying to express your opinion. Listening to your partner can reduce a lot of conflict caused by misunderstandings.

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6. Listening Passively Only

Listening should be an active process. However, many people treat it like a passive activity. Not talking doesn’t constitute listening. In order to actively listen to someone, you should ask questions, nod your head, and seek clarification when you don’t understand. Get rid of other distractions and focus on what your partner has to say by showing you are actively trying to understand what is being said.

7. Making the Relationship Lower on the Priority Scale

Relationships often top the priority scale in the beginning but over time, a relationship can slip down the priority list slowly. Kids, jobs, extended family, and friends can all take precedence over the relationship if you’re not careful. The lower the relationship falls on the priority scale, the more likely the relationship will suffer.

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8. Offering Criticism

Giving too much criticism can break down a relationship quickly. Offering your opinion about what your partner doesn’t do right or should be doing differently can create a wedge in the relationship. Offer feedback in a way that is tactful and diplomatic and make sure you are giving more positive feedback than negative.

9. Nagging One Another

Nagging is an annoying habit that can make a relationship become more painful than joyful. It’s okay to ask your partner to do something but avoid nagging if the job doesn’t get done according to your time frame. Treat your partner like a responsible adult, not a child who needs parenting.

10. Trying to Change Each Other

Trying to change your partner will only backfire on you in the long-run. You can change yourself only. Focus on changing your own behavior and it may or may not lead your partner to change. Accept that you can’t force your partner to change and accept that your partner does not have to do what you want.

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Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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