Communicating as a Couple – So That Can Each Be Heard as an Individual

Posted by: Marjorie McPhee on January 17, 2012 11:11 am

The Love Language

In this day and age, I find that the daily stressors are overpowering and overwhelming the initiative and desire to put that extra effort into making things work in relationships. In Session you hear things like:

  • We hardly see each other.
  • We don’t have time for each other
  • We are working late hours in order to pay the bills
  • By the time we complete everything that has to be done in a day, there is no time for ourselves
  • Because of the pace that we have set, the pressures have us coming home angry, upset, short- tempered, with no more energy to give to anyone else
  • We’re always arguing or yelling at each other about something
  • The kids won’t even listen to us
  • He/she never listens to or hears me

This is the familiar rhetoric that comes from Couples that are seeking help to get their Life, Relationship, and Family back to “Normal”. Sometimes, they arrive in the “I give up mode” or the “We should separate mode” or worse yet, “It’s over and there’s no hope of reconciliation mode”.

It becomes our responsibility to first, “put out the fires” of the stressors, and then turn to the means of finding the relationship.

As a Counsellor, Parent, and former Paediatrics Nurse, one of the things that I have learned, is that the learning takes place when one can put into practice what one has learned, providing “One” chooses to learn. In other words, you can tell your child a hundred times that the stove is hot, but until the child touches the hot stove the child will not accept what the outcome might be. We’ve all been there.

Learning, for our Clients is based on Choice, Willingness to learn, Commitment, and the Desire to Reach a Known Goal. So, with this in mind, I will lead you into what I have learned and put into practice.

Introducing a Couple into communicating in a Dyad format, helps to bring clarity into things spoken and heard from a “feeling” perspective, without pointing fingers. The “what I feel” and “what I heard you say” mode, creates an opportunity for the couple to say what they need to say, and be heard in a structured, “respectful” manner.

Once this first line of communication has taken place, I found that introducing the couple to a small book (either purchased or borrowed from the library), called “The 5 Love Languages,” elicits further learning through choice, “participaction”, and mutual communication. Each participant begins to identify a primary, personal means of feeling loved and then, through the text, identifies it to their partner.

I came upon “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, purely by accident.

Once the Couple, procures the book, they begin their exploration by doing the Profile listed in the back of the book, where they first identify their (individual) primary love language. This initial step enables the individuals to become familiar with their Love Language.

The second step to this was to assign the Couple to each read a Chapter, e.g., one person reads Chapter One, while the other reads Chapter Two. Once they have completed this reading, each partner tell the other what they have learned, in their respective chapters. The learning continues in each Session, where they again review what they have learned in discussion with their Counsellor.

The Outcome is initially surprise, they find an eagerness to move forward so that each can learn how they implement what they have learned for their partner. It’s not magic, it’s communication, it’s mutual engagement and it provides the opportunity to try it out for themselves, without being told. The Communication improves through the interactive practice, by creating a greater sense of connection, a better understanding of each other’s needs and if the goal is to remain a couple, the romance and loving enhances, of it’s own evolution.

I’ve found it to be a very successful tool.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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