A very tiny portion of the results of the relationship poll spoke of satisfying connections with your partners. However, the majority of moms commented on feeling stuck, frustrated, angry, sad and dissatisfied in their relationships.
Generally speaking, and what I notice most in my practice when working with couples, is that at the root of every dissatisfying relationship lies a real sense of not feeling heard and of not listening – by BOTH partners. What I know is that in order to have a satisfying relationship, couples must learn to communicate appropriately and effectively. Without this, your relationship will simply perpetuate negativity and reinforce disconnection.
Many moms posed questions like, “what are good and affective ways of expressing anger?”; “why can’t I trust my partner?”; “how do we get back to an active sex life?”;” how do we discuss sensitive topics without leading to a screaming match?”; “how do we work out different parenting styles?”; “how do I encourage instead of nag?”. Though these questions cover a whole gamut of topics and would require individual attention and exploration, they all, in some way or another, address the issue of communication and how to do it better – how to feel heard and how to listen.
To begin improving your relationship, you must first ask yourself, “do I want to improve this relationship?” and “am I willing to do what it takes to reconnect?” I say this because unless you and your partner can identify that you are both wanting and willing to improve your relationship it’s going to be extremely tricky to do so. Commitment to this process is essential by both of you.
In the video clip as part of the “Women’s Intuition Series”, I speak about an exercise called “active listening” which can be accessed using the following link – http://www.urbanmoms.ca/intuition.
Additionally, in improving communication, we want to eliminate anger, as it only generates resistance. Begin recognizing your contribution to the disconnection and communicate your desire to close that gap. Also…think about what you once loved about your partner and what you once did to show that love….do you still do those things?? What would happen if you tried to?
I strongly recommend couple counseling to help facilitate communication. Note that some of the best couple counseling can occur with the presence of one partner (in case you find your mate resistant). Note that in a troubled relationship, there is a lot of work to be done at an individual level.
For those of you who feel that you and your partner communicate effectively, I wonder if you could post what it is you do in your relationship that helps you to listen and feel heard. Also, for some helpful reading on the subject, try anything by Barbara De Angelis.
So, listen up and listen in…to yourself and to your partner.
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I’m not going to pretend that my relationship is perfect, but I will say that my husband and I have actively prioritized our time together. We now go on a “date” at least once every two weeks and once the kids have gone to bed, we make sure to chat about the day, really just catch up, sometimes even over a glass of wine. Prioritizing our relationship has made us both commit more. I thought perhaps this might inspire some other moms.
Thanks for this post, Kyla. I’ve been struggling in my relationship for a while and haven’t really known what to do about, or even if I have the energy to do anything about it. Your video/column has given me a lot to think about. If anything, I’ve learned that my husband and I are NOT good communicators and that we need to work on listening…thanks for planting the seed.