Our topic for this week’s blog is “Please do NOT give me unsolicited advice.” In many couples one person is usually a fixer. They tend to think of themselves as helpful, analytical, solution-oriented and logical. The other person is typically more of the emotional one. When the one more connected to emotions needs to vent or simply talk about something they have experienced they would like someone to listen. They are not looking for or wanting input, advice, suggestions, or solutions from their spouse!
Here is what happens all too often in relationships…one partner wants to talk about something. They may need to vent. They may want to get something off their minds by talking about it. They may want to pass on information. The other partner either by interrupting or when the other person takes a breath then seizes the opportunity to add their two cents. They say something like:
“If I were you I would have _________________.”
“You should have thought to do/ask ____________________.”
“I think the better solution would have been ______________.”
Well, when those words leave the mouth of the giver and hit the ear of their partner, the words then travel to the brain and are perceived as criticism. The partner thinks:
“I did not even get to finish talking.”
“Why can’t they just listen?”
“Does he/she think I am stupid?”
“Why are their ideas always better than mine?”
This is one of the most basic of skills for good communication. What is most needed for healthy communication is to be a really good listener. When your partner is sharing a feeling or an experience with you, simply listen to them and say, “Thank you for sharing with me.”
If your spouse wants your thoughts or input or suggestions or solutions, they will ask for them. If there is something you feel is really important to add, ask permission to do so. You could ask, “Hey, honey, I have some thoughts about what you are sharing, would you like to hear them?” If the answer is “NO” then keep it to yourself! That is showing respect to your partner. When there is mutual respect there will be better communication.
More communication tips to come in future blogs. If you need help with communication in your relationship call me. I would love to help!
Carma Kuhn, M.Ed., LMHC ~ 321.251.8344