As a private practice counselor, I work with a lot of couples. And while there can many things to address in a relationship, probably the biggest over-arching challenge to overcome is lack of healthy communication. Our ability to communicate with anyone, but especially someone we love, comes down to two key areas – assertiveness and active listening.
Today, we are going to focus on the latter. Assertiveness often has a negative connotation associated with it – demanding or aggressive are two terms that come to mind. But our ability to respectfully express our feelings and what we need is undervalued.
Sometimes we think being assertive means being selfish. It’s not. Think of it this way – who knows exactly how you feel or what you need better than you?
We get upset with spouse or are boyfriend or girlfriend, because we assume they should just know what we want or how we feel. A lot of times they don’t. So rather than be frustrated or resentful that they don’t, it provides an opportunity to respectfully tell them. The “respectfully” part is important.
It could be as simple as something like – “I know you really wanted to stay in this evening, but I was really hoping we could go out tonight.
So if communication has been a struggle in your relationship, maybe it’s a matter of respectfully telling your partner how you feel and what you need.
**In addition to being on B105.7, Eric has his Masters in Counseling and works as a private practice counselor.**
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