Have you ever longed for your partner to acknowledge and connect with you in a way that makes you feel loved, cherished and supported? And instead, you feel dismissed and/or your request for connection is pushed aside or ignored?
In this blog, I’m going to share some common mistakes couples make when it comes to emotional connection, I hope you’ll find it helpful.
Being Mindful rather than Mindless
I’m sure you know people, and perhaps yourself included, who can’t seem to function without their smartphone or laptop either on their person or close by. We are so fearful of missing out that we end up constantly checking posts, twits, messages, emails etc. This behaviour means that we are no longer mindfully present in our moment to moment interactions with our loved ones.
When you don’t pay attention, you don’t connect. And if you don’t connect, you’ll start to believe that your partner is not going to be there for you. This is when the relationship will engage in criticism, defensiveness, attacking, withdrawing. This will eventually destroy the goodness of your relationship.
However, when you are mindfully present, you will notice your partner’s attempts at connection and respond accordingly. In these moments, there’s a sense of shared experience which leaves you feeling you are truly on a journey of discovery together. These little moments of connection will give your relationship a sense of safety, sensitivity and kindness.
The Rules of Engagement
Wanting to engage with your partner, to share your day, is a chance to come back together after being apart, a chance to update one another on what’s been going on in your world. But by starting your attempt to connect with a negative, blaming or critical way, you get just the opposite of your intent.
World-renowned couple therapists John and Julie Gottman have found in their 45yrs+ of research that 96% of the time, you can predict the outcome of a 15mins conversation based on what happens in the first 3mins of that interaction.
I’ve listed 4 ways of ensuring a better outcome when engaging with your partner:
Softening your tone:
Starting your interaction on a softer note and with positive comments.
Instead of: “We never have fun together anymore, why don’t we go out sometimes?”
Try: “There’s a new restaurant that’s open down the road and it’s been getting raving reviews, how about we go there for our next date night?”
Express Appreciation and Gratitude:
Instead of: “I never hear from anybody anymore, the only time your family calls is to complain about something.”
Try: “It’s been a long time since the kids have seen their cousins, why don’t we organise a picnic with everyone in the park next weekend?”
Own and express your Feelings:
Start with “I” instead of “you”, which makes the interaction about how you are feeling, and is less judgmental rather than putting the blame on your partner.
Instead of “You could have called, you made me stay up all night.”
Try: “I was so worried when you didn’t call that it kept me up all night.”
Don’t stockpile complaints:
Instead of: “You are always busy since your promotion 6mths ago, you don’t have any time for me.”
Try: “I worry that you are working too hard and there’s little time for you to relax.”
Related Tag: Relationship Counselling Sydney CBD