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Making Communication Work For Your Relationship
Brooke said to Gary, “In our entire relationship, I’ve gone above and beyond for you … for us. I cook. I take up your shit off the floor. I’ve laid your clothes for you like you were a four-year old. I’ve supported you, your work or anything. I make the plans. I take care of everything. But I don’t feel you appreciate any of it. I don’t feel that you appreciate me. All I want from you is to show me that you care.” Gary retorted, “Why didn’t you just say that to me?” In tears, Brooke said, “Gary, I’ve tried.” Gary answered, “But never like that. You might have said things that may mean like that but I am not a mind reader.”
Above is a conversation of Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) and Gary (Vince Vaughn) in the movie “The Break-up.” This is a classic example of a poor communication or miscommunication which led to rejection, hurt, misunderstanding that eventually resulted in the falling-out between partners Brooke and Gary. This is a movie that solidly mirrors reality. Partners may have difficulty putting their feelings into words or the wife speaks but the husband avoids or does not listen. Communication is the essence of any relationship. However, communication is also a two-way process. You may talk as much as you want but you also need to listen well as much. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” as Greek philosopher Epictetus perfectly puts it.
But how do we make communication work in a relationship? The key here is to talk freely and listen excellently. Open up your feelings, thoughts, aspirations, hurts and complaints to your partner. And when your partner does the talking, you need to be the excellent listener by not condemning, attacking or lecturing the other. When it is your time to talk, your partner will likewise do the same thing for you. And after each one has heard all that has to be said, work out for a compromise.
Partners should likewise bear in mind that each one is entitled to his/her own feelings and opinions, that no two people are exactly the same, that each one is totally unique emotionally, physically and mentally. Respect for one another should guide the relationship. Once both partners accepted the individuality and uniqueness of one another will fear to communicate be eliminated; and only then will open communication ensue.
Also, take note that words can make or break your partner or any person. Would you rather discourage than uplift your better half? It is quite essential to think first before you speak. Take control of your anger and temper. Always bear in mind that words are gifts and should be used to inspire, encourage and motivate others. So to avoid having the same story as Brooke and Gary, as Dr. Laurence Peter suggests, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
About the Author: Ron Zvagelsky has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2006. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of PlanJam – where you can find fun date ideas and romantic date ideas.