Couple Talking – The Quarantine Communication Crash Course
It is perfectly understandable that couple talking techniques would change, because when we find ourselves in new situations, we need to come up with new ways of coping and flourishing.
I’ve noticed in meeting with clients that some couples are finding challenges communicating effectively, and as couples spend more time together than ever, couple talking changes! You can’t expect the same results from old ways of thinking and communicating!
Just spend a moment considering how much your work routines have changed.
We’re all on some sort of video conferencing software, balancing parenting or caretaking, health and exercise, financial stresses, and other tasks within the boundaries of our home.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us to make fast decisions about what’s vital and what’s not. What doesn’t work fails immediately, and effective results stick.
The same goes for couple talking techniques.
Quarantining all day has been a crash course for many of my clients on verbal and non-verbal communication with their spouse or partner.
The more you utilize effective strategies and techniques, the faster you’ll adapt to this new reality.
Let’s look on the bright side and imagine how much better we’ll know and communicate with our partners as things transition back to “normal” life.
You can use your time now as a petri dish to experiment with some of these expert couple talking strategies.
Dr. Gottman on Intimate Conversation
Dr. Gottman has been helping couples build bonds and communicate effectively for decades. One of his main strategies for building trust in a relationship is related to open communication free from any hint of defensiveness.
Your partner could be hiding something from you or masking destructive behaviors because they fear your reaction. It could also be one of the reasons they react strongly to anything that resembles criticism.
For example, that sort of thing happens a lot when a spouse attempts to talk to their partner about what they see is a pornography problem. They move to strike back quickly to discourage any more questioning.
For many of us, our first inclination when our partner has a problem or talks about something challenging is to offer solutions. We want to immediately problem-solve their way out of it. We tell ourselves that’s how we’re projecting that we care about them.
Instead, though, Gottman says that before advice must come understanding.
Intimate communication must include couples talking that’s free from judgment.
One of the best ways to do this is by asking your partner open-ended follow-up questions. These invite them to speak more freely and get out whatever feelings they’ve got pent up inside. The next time your partner expresses frustration, anger, or even joy, ask them to talk more about how they feel and why. You’re on your way to build a more free and open communication platform.
Find Healing with Imago Relationship Therapy
Imago relationship therapy focuses on building intimate connections through healing. Fear of being truly known is one of the main obstacles my clients face. Most of us naturally maintain some semblance of a distance between our true selves and those around us. It may not be as simple as we don’t trust them. Often, we feel uncomfortable thinking or discussing our past or trauma we still live with.
Sharing intimate feelings, both fears and aspirations will help you as a couple build a love that’s more connected and intimate. Easier said than done, however. To feel comfortable opening or, you and your partner have to feel safe in your relationship.
Worries, concerns, doubts, and other emotions have to be communicated in a safe environment without risk of retribution.
The best couple talking happens in safe conversations. You can discover how to create safe conversations by talking to your partner about what makes them feel unsafe. Eliminate any conditions that could trigger anxiety as you speak. Sit closely to stay physically connected. Maintain eye contact. Offer validation often as your partner shares difficult emotions.
Couple Talk with F-A-S-T
As a therapist, I help people understand how their emotions can hijack conversations. We all must understand how our messages are conveyed, especially to our intimate partners who we care deeply about.
In many couples, there’s often one partner who feels it’s appropriate to make their feelings subordinate to their partner’s to “make things work”. They are quick to apologize to try and smooth things over and withhold their true feelings because they don’t want to rock the boat.
What these people don’t realize is that they’re setting themselves up for long-term failure. That negatively impacts their partner and also their self-worth. If you find yourself sacrificing too much for the good of the relationship, you need to reexamine things.
For example, sometimes clients struggle with different sexual desires in their relationship. The higher-desire partner can feel frustrated and that they’re giving up something incredibly important because their partner doesn’t want to have sex as much as they do. Either that or they’re into kink or want to try some roleplaying.
Telling yourself that that’s just the way things are can only last so long. Eventually, the resentment will be so strong it will lead to collapse, infidelity, or some other disruption.
The point of learning how to speak about difficult topics is to find a way to meet in the middle for a solution that’s acceptable to both parties.
I recommend the FAST method of communication as a way to stay grounded when communicating with your spouse or partner. FAST stands for:
Fairness – Remember to be fair to yourself and your partner. Avoid criticism and judgment.
Apologies – Reserve apologies for when they’re required. Don’t apologize for feeling a certain way or being who you are. Apologize when you’ve done something wrong.
Stick to Your Values – There’s a compromise, and then there’s self-sacrifice. Too much sacrifice will make you feel resentful. Don’t cheat on your values to make something work or to make someone feel better.
Truth – Don’t exaggerate and don’t lie. Stay grounded and honest in your communication. Your partner will listen to what you have to say and know you are being sincere.
FAST is just one communication technique I recommend for couple talk. Several other methods can help you remember effective communication skills when conflict arises or it’s time to give your partner validation and praise.
I think we forget too often that we need effective communication when things are good just as much as when they are bad. How you speak to your partner when things are positive is like filling the well that you can draw on when stress is high and you’re having disagreements.
If there’s anything everyone needs right now during this troubling time it’s more praise and validation. These are simple things you can do to build your partner up and create stronger bonds in your intimate relationship.
You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel – The Sex Healer.
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