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communicating in relationships

Forget the 50/50 Right Now...

Forget the 50/50 Right Now...

     Relationships are rarely a fifty-fifty exchange of give and take. The reward of a solid relationship is the understanding that at any given time, one of the partners may be carrying most of the load. But giving of yourself in excess abundance, does not mean your partner “owes” you. It is not a transaction that will eventually require payback.

     Julie and I have been through countless variations of this scenario, where one person is down and the other is keeping the ship on course, making sure the day-to-day obligations are met, the kids are fed, etc. Sometimes these situations can stretch out for days or even weeks, as it has lately with all of the moving preparations necessary to get our family from Pennsylvania to Oregon. It's been particularly difficult for me, having lived in the same area for the last 52 years.

So we both have been employing self-care techniques to keep ourselves sane and keep our relationship as healthy as possible.

  1. For myself, I've been lacking the spiritual energy and support that I usually rely on to get through both the good days and the bad, I realize faith and gratitude are actions that I sometimes neglect and that this is a large reason for the funk that I've been mired in. Therefore, I start every day with a new attitude and I make a fresh attempt to find my way back to the positive outlook and joyous embrace of every day.

  2. For Julie, she has been doing everything in her power to lend me the support that she knows I crave, on a daily basis. But at the same time, she has been guarding her own spiritual energy, protecting her sense of serenity and calm from the negative vibes that I have been emitting in copious amounts and with few breaks. She walks a fine line between reaching out a helping hand to her partner and letting herself get sucked down into the negative spiral.

  3. As a couple, we respect each others’ spaces in our lives. We each accept that there is a lot of negative energy being felt and experienced. Neither judges the other as to how he or she is experiencing this difficult time. We merely try to honor the challenges that come from a life experience for which we both were unprepared. We realize that, although one person’s experience may be less painful than the other’s, there is a lesson to be learned for both of us.  

We welcome you to be aware in times of transition or just a hard day that you can honor yourself while lending support. There is a balance but it is not always 50/50 and recognizing that is an invaluable tool in having loving exchanges with your partner even during tumultuous times.

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Three reasons to THINK before you speak to your loved one.

Communication is hard. We are a complicated species, and we walk around with a super computer in our heads that the smartest people on the planet still haven’t completely figured out. It’s no wonder we have trouble communicating with one another. Throw very real emotions and personal agendas into the mix and you have a recipe for anger and confusion and, ultimately, resentments. And we all know the poison that resentments stain relationships with.

     Many of the conversations that Julie and I have had started on a good note, with good and loving intentions on either side. But sometimes, one or both of us were poised, ready for a tense situation and confrontation. But either way, this mental preparation was not only exhausting, it was counterproductive.

      There are three things Julie and I try to remember before we get into difficult conversations or just any time we’re conversing.

1.) Spoken words often change meaning between the time they leave the lips and the time they reach the ears : Often times, we say things with the best intentions, but the message somehow gets skewed when it is received and the other person reacts with anger or indignation or any one of a bunch of other negative emotions. We, in turn, react negatively to the other person’s negativity, because the tone of our original message was misinterpreted. Ours is a complex language and, therefore, is prone to implying the wrong shades of meaning while we talk. Therefore, choose your words carefully, and watch the tone and even the body language.


2.) Your loved one has already imagined the conversation you're about to have and has already decided how to respond and react to everything you're about to say : He/she has already decided how the whole thing is going to play out. Therefore he/she is unreceptive to how the conversation actually might have gone, if it had the chance to develop organically. The spin you intended to put on the topics discussed will likely fall on deaf ears - the other person thinks he/she already knows what you’re  thinking and what you’ll say. If you think your partner may have already spun the whole conversation out in his/her head before you have uttered a word, it’s usually best to start slowly. Very deliberately, and using as little emotion as possible, state your belief that there may have been a miscommunication about a particular matter, and you want only to clear up any possible misunderstandings between you two.


3.) You have no idea the space your loved one is in or how receptive he/she is to new information : Although you and your loved one have known each other for awhile, it’s impossible to accurately assess the mental or spiritual place he/she is in all the time. There will be moments, hours, days, or even entire weeks where you two are growing in different directions and experiencing different life lessons. At times like these, it is very difficult to predict how information will be received, especially if it is of a subject matter that is emotionally charged. It’s best to simply ask if now is a good time to talk about whatever it is that’s on your mind. If now is not good, just ask when a good time will be, or ask him/her to think about when will be a good time and to get back to you.

      As you can see there are SO many factors to consider when communicating with your partner. Have you ever experienced this in your relationship? What did you do? How did your partner handle it? Please tell us about it in the comments below - we would LOVE to hear from you! 

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