Have you ever had this experience — the feedback or request you want most of all for your beloved to hear from you is actually the hardest for them to listen to and receive?
And then it’s painful, frustrating, discouraging, or infuriating when they don’t listen. You feel unheard, misunderstood, invalidated, ignored, or rejected. You get quieter, shut down from your beloved, and disconnect; or you get louder, more demanding, controlling, and expressive.
You wonder what it will take for them to finally listen. You know you make sense, and you hunger for them to hear you. If they would just listen, things would be so much easier.
Here’s part of the challenge: the more important something is to you, the more emotionally-charged it tends to be, and the more emotionally-charged it is, the more you probably trigger (unconsciously and unintentionally) fear and threat responses in your mate. This can quickly become a vicious cycle of both of you triggering each other and getting defensive.
We recognize that whatever you have to say to your beloved is precious, and, you are right — if they only heard you, things probably would be a lot easier. We also realize that how we speak directly relates to how others do or don’t listen to us. That’s why we’re here to help set you up for success whenever you have something important to say!
A few months ago, we wrote a blog on How to Listen in a Way That Transforms How Other Relate to You. Today, we want to focus on 6 key tips to speak in a way that will transform how your beloved hears you, especially around those emotionally-charged issues.
1. Avoid using too many words.
When something is important to you, it’s understandable why you’d want to repeat it again and again or go over and over it to prove to your beloved and convince them of why you make sense. Ironically, using less words is usually more effective and helps prevent them from getting flooded. Let your beloved know you have something you want to share, and ask when would be a good time. Then, once you have their full presence, share whatever it is as concisely as possible.
2. Focus on the future, not the past.
Although there are some moments when focusing on the past is important, nobody wants to listen to a laundry list of the mistakes they’ve made or things they could have done better. If you ever go into the past, name these things with compassion and grace. Primarily focus on what you’d love to be different in the future. For example, rather than going on about how your beloved is so busy or distracted and how much that upsets you, talk about how you dream of spending more focused time together and what that would mean to you. If you focus on the behavior you didn’t like and don’t want, you will actually give more energy to it and unintentionally reinforce it. If you focus on the behavior you would like to see more of and say it in a warm and inviting way, you are giving energy to it.
3. Get into a relaxed body position.
Different body positions send different signals to our brain and activate different parts of us. Ideally, you want to be in a relaxed but wakeful position – one that promotes calm and connection but doesn’t lead to sleepiness. For example, rather than talking while standing in the kitchen, go over to the couch, relax your body, and look into each other’s eyes. Try holding hands or cuddling while you talk, as this also boosts oxytocin, the bonding chemical that instantly eases tension and helps foster connection.
4. Approach whatever it is as teammates.
If you approach your beloved as your adversary, they will, in turn, see you as their adversary, and their defenses will go up. You can’t approach them as your adversary and expect them to instantly join your team. On the contrary, if you approach this from the viewpoint that X is the issue, and you want to work with them in finding a solution together, they will much more readily accept your invitation. We recommend even saying that you want to be teammates and allies in whatever it is and that you want to find a solution that really honors you both.
5. Recognize that your perspectives are equally valuable and valid.
If you enter any conversation with the notion that you know best, that you have the answer, that you know more than anyone else, it will feed your ego but impair your relationships. Instead, approach whatever it is with humility, with your own imperfections and humanness. Stay genuinely openhearted, honoring, and curious about their perspective. You do not need to make them wrong in order for your feelings to be valid. While being opinionated has its strengths in certain life domains, when it comes to relationships, thinking you know it all can feel very belittling, condescending, and disempowering for the person on the other end and can be quite unattractive and push people away. Instead, humility and appreciation open our hearts and make people want to come closer and feel safer.
6. Always, always, always lead with empathy and appreciation.
Before you share anything at all about your own feelings, take a moment to acknowledge your beloved’s feelings, to drop into their hearts, and to say something kind. Nobody wants to be blamed, shamed, made wrong, or criticized. We all want to be seen for our best intentions and to be acknowledged for those things we did well. Plus, once you do this, they will recognize you as a safe space, and their hearts will open more fully to hear you.
There you have it! 6 key tips to help make it easier for your beloved to hear the important things you long to share and be heard.
When working with couples, they often exclaim to us their delight and surprise with how quickly they are able to shift areas of tension. Most often, the greatest problem comes from how we talk about the issue, not the issue itself. We warmly welcome you to check out our couples counseling and coaching (available anywhere in the world) if YOU would love to have a breakthrough in any area of your relationship. There are no set number of sessions required, and we love to help you experience big a-ha’s every time.
Also, our signature Thrive in Love couples retreat is an amazing way to grow your love and take it to a whole new level. Words cannot describe the transformation and absolute magic we witness in the couples who attend. This retreat has sold out repeatedly, so be sure to reserve your space as soon as possible HERE.
May your conversations open your hearts, deepen your love, foster understanding, and bring you closer to the fulfilling relationship you’ve always wanted and that we know is possible for you! Thank you so much for being on this amazing relationship journey with us!
Infinite Love and Joy,
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