Improve Communication With Your Partner Right Away with This Trick
Sometimes my spouse and I have trouble communicating. For me, conflict is very hard and if I’m angry about something, or just grumpy that my spouse is messier than I am, I tend to bottle up these feelings. The mere thought of uttering a sentence like, “It is frustrating when you don’t pick something up after I’ve asked you,” is very unsettling. And when I actually get around to trying to say it, I panic and don’t say anything at all. In the end, this means I’m not being honest with my life partner about certain things that are very important to me. And the bottled up feelings bubble up in other places; I might be grumpy or passive aggressive and my partner is in the dark as to the cause.
To help with this, my partner and I maintain an accountability journal. It’s a place where I can share with my partner things that are hard for me to verbalize. In this way I am holding myself accountable to my feelings and to our relationship. In our journal I can write down thoughts about love and happiness and also frustration and hurt. And I can do this with the knowledge that it is a non-confrontational space. I know that what I write in the journal will be read by my partner and also appreciated and digested in a non-defensive way. This will lead to a dialogue, maybe even through journaling, where we can understand and address the problem from a place of mutual care and respect.
We’ve been very happy with the freedom that a shared journal has given us. It’s not perfect. Sometimes I find myself avoiding writing something in the journal for the same reasons I’d avoid verbalizing it directly, but it’s proving to be a very useful tool. It’s also a good training technique. I believe it is making us more patient, non-defensive, empathic communicators. By slowing the pace of what could be an intense conversation, it gives us room to breathe and think about our reactions and responses methodically so that we can better engage with what our loved one is sharing.