Why do we fail to communicate properly with our partner?

Lead: Proper communication, apart from being the oxygen in a relationship, cultivates essential trust between partners.

Everyone agrees that one of the defining points for the success of any relationship or marriage is communication.

Why do we have so much trouble communicating these days? Why is it so difficult? Why do we feel like we are talking in code, or on a different frequency? John Gray, the “father of relationships,” indicated in his book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus that men and women used to live on different planets. Men lived on Mars and women lived on Venus. Since women and men lived on a different planet, they had developed different habits and

different codes of communication. When they were transported to Earth, as John Gray jokingly says, they experienced selective amnesia and forgot their communication codes. Men and women started getting angry with each other. They expected the opposite sex to treat them the way their own sex treats them, or the way they treat themselves.

I get mad at, or become afraid of, the opposite sex because I expect them to treat me exactly like I would like to be treated. Our desire is for the other sex to want what we want, and feel like we feel.

Some might ask: Isn’t that a little selfish? If we analyze it, and remove our ego, we can understand it. So, what do we want? We want a relationship for ourselves. We don’t want an open relationship, or a “breathing” relationship,

as I like to call it. We want a relationship in which we’ll have the first and the last word, whether we’re a man or a woman. We convince ourselves that our partners don’t love us. That’s the main complaint. What do I mean when I say to my partner, “Do you love me?” What’s hiding behind that question? It’s that I want them to tell me they love me in the way I want them to. It’s a form of demanding love.

If I’m being walked all over, and ignoring my own needs, it’s not going to work. If I’m a puppet, or only a sounding board for their needs, they will get bored of me eventually. So what do I do? I take responsibility and say: “I’m going to be treated fairly.”

What happens when we feel neglected as a man or a woman? A wife goes to her husband to share the problems of her day, or something that upset her or that’s bothering her. Some husbands might say: “She’s complaining.” But let’s not say that. A woman is coming to share. Sometimes, when the man sees the woman approaching him with a troubled look, he gets anxious and thinks that he’s done something wrong.

Other times, he wants to take on the role of an expert, and try to offer a solution. He puts on his metaphorical cape and dresses up as “Mr. Fix It.” He thinks that the woman is broken and sharing her emotions so that he can get his tools to fix the gears and solve the problem. He’s not listening to the reality of the situation. The woman is opening up her heart and soul. She wants the man to listen while she’s sharing her problems and her anxieties.

But the man starts giving incessant advice and solutions. He thinks that’s going to make her feel better. He wants to give her love and it comes from a good place. But that’s not enough for the woman. She feels like the man isn’t

listening to her. The more a woman shares her complaints and worries, the more a man is going to want to provide solutions.  After a couple of minutes, they’re both going to be displeased.

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Nikolas Ouranos

Life & Relationship Coach, awarded author of the no1 bestselling books Create Love and How to Create your Life

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