Nothing makes us happier than having wonderful and loving relationships. Relationships give us a sense of purpose. We look forward to the future and feel exited to look back in the past.
However, while a successful relationship can bring us happiness, its failure can tear us apart. We all want our relationships to work, but more importantly, we want them to be successful.
How Can I Make My Relationship Last?
Several researchers have found out that communication issues and the inability to resolve conflicts are primary causes for relationship failures.
A research by the Tango website have found the following reasons for why women were unhappy in their relationship:
- 83% of the women said that there was a lack of validation from their partners about their feelings and opinions.
- 56% of the women said that their partners did not listen to them and talked a lot only about themselves.
As you can see, communication is indeed the key to avoid conflicts in a relationship.
How Does It Work??
To get an answer to this, we can learn from where communication skills are used at their best – the business sector. You can apply your business communication tactics in your personal communication too!
A book by Jim Collins entitled “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t”, analysed several companies to understand what worked well for the successful ones and what didn’t work well for the unsuccessful ones.
Collins found a clear distinction in the communication style of good and bad managers. Bad managers talk while good managers ask questions and listen.
Similarly, the common problem with our relationships nowadays is the blame game - we tend to conveniently blame each other’s selfishness.
However, it’s important to practice empathy - learn to set aside yourself for the moment and instead, step into the shoes of your partner. Ask questions and listen to your partner and turn the situation around. By doing this, your partner will feel validated, important, cared and loved.
Dale Carnegie, one of the prime leaders in the area of communication and relationships said -
How Can I Use This In My Relationship?
Communication in relationships works the same way. So why don’t we use this same logic in the way we deal with our partners?
Have you ever been in a situation where someone only talks about themselves? You would be hearing him/her but not really listening. It is because somewhere in the back of your mind, you would be thinking about your own stuff.
Definitely, we all have been there many times – including your partner.
Sometimes when you are talking to your partner, he may not be listening to you attentively because he might have some important issues or concerns running at the back of his mind.
So, it is better to talk first about things that might be urgent or vital for your partner. Once his concerns have been dealt with, you can then talk to him about matters that are troubling you.
Carnegie also suggests that you should discuss your partner’s areas of interest with him, even if it doesn’t interest you.
GO Ahead! Start Asking Questions And Listen
But how can you talk about topics that you know almost nothing about? Let’s simply go back to advice number one: ask questions and listen. You don’t need to talk.
Let’s take an example from a different field, the military. In meetings, when a crucial decision has to be made, the chief officer asks the opinion of every participant in the meeting — right from the lowest rank to the highest.
It is common or a usual practice where the head of an organization has the first say. However, the chief officer chooses to listen to his subordinates first, so that he can know all the facts before he can come to a decision. Only then does he talk and make that decision.
If you adopt this style of communication, it will greatly help you in your personal relationships.
If you think that you may be overlooked in the relationship, i.e., if both of you focus on your own concerns, don’t let that worry you! As you start asking questions and listen attentively to your partner, he will do the same thing to your issues as well.
- In any relationships, proper communication is the cornerstone for it to thrive. The moment you throw away the communication, your relationship is bound to fail.
- We all have to put aside ourselves and learn to ask questions and listen intently.
Whether it’s your relationship with your friends, family, or your partner, practice this new way of communication. Make it a habit and you will immediately notice how happy people will be to communicate with you.
P.S. Have you tried ‘communicating’ with your partner by asking questions and listening? If you have not yet, tell us how it went.