How to Create A Couple’s Communication Plan

How to Create A Couple's Communication Plan @RomanceWire

It’s pretty safe to say that without communication, your relationship will eventually fail. The level of communication you have with your partner can determine the level of intimacy and love you feel for each other. However, in every relationship, there comes a time when you need to talk about serious issues or things that are upsetting to you. The way these issues get handled can either make your relationship stronger or weaker.

The thing is, we’re all only human and emotions play a significant role in our communication ability. One way to avoid hurting each other when either of you are upset is to have a clear communication plan that you use to talk about about serious or upsetting issues. When you have a predetermined plan, you can talk about the issues in a more rational and thoughtful way and come up with a real resolution.

The type of plan you come up with will depend on your own communication style, but it should include a few things:

  1. An emotionally-free environment (as much as possible).
  2. Distraction free talking zone.
  3. Time and space for each person to speak about their opinions and feelings.
  4. Acknowledgement of each other’s feelings and opinions.
  5. Resolution agreement.
  6. Follow up.

If this is something you’d like to set up in your own relationship, have a read through the expanded plan guidelines below.

Agree on a method for airing an upset or serious discussion.
Some couples use a stuffed animal to denote “something’s up,” while others may use a post-it note or send a text message. Either way, don’t just confront your partner without any warning or heads up that a serious talk is incoming. Let them adjust mentally so they can give the issue their utmost focus.

Agree on a set time to talk about the issue.
If your partner is on the way out the door to work or has a prior engagement, don’t start a serious talk about your finances five minute before they need to leave. You’ll both end up frustrated and angry at a futile situation. Make sure to plan your discussions at a time you can both fully focus on the situation without outside distractions.

Agree to a method of discussion.
One of the biggest complaints couples have about communication is that they don’t feel like their partner is actually listening to them. When it’s time to discuss the issue, have clear guidelines in place to make sure each person gets a chance to say their side of the story or thoughts. You can use a timer to give each person five or ten minutes to say their piece or use a tool like a pillow or stuffed toy and only the person holding it gets to talk.

Realize your communication shortcomings.
Not every couple is comfortable with verbally hashing out issues that bother them. Confrontation on a negative situation can feel overwhelming and lead to one person not being able to express their viewpoints effectively. In these situations, other methods than talking may be more effective. For instance, writing down your thoughts in a couple’s journal for each of you to talk back and forth to each other in, or even sending each other emails may be more helpful.

Agree to a resolution.
Once you’ve both been able to express your viewpoints, you need to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of both of you. To do this, you’ll have to first acknowledge each person’s viewpoints to indicates you understand what they are saying. You don’t have to agree with your partner to understand where they are coming from. After that, you’ll need to work together to find a compromise or solution you both agree on.

Stick to the plan.
Remember, trust is one of the keys in a successful relationship. If you both agree on an outcome and one of you doesn’t stick to it, the level of trust between you is going to falter. This not only affects your everyday life, but also your future discussions. If you find that the resolution you’ve both come up with isn’t working, start over and talk about it again until you find one that works. Don’t just abandon it and hope the problem goes away.

Follow up.
To make sure that you are both sticking to the plan and that no hidden issues have popped up, make an agreement to circle back on the issue at a later date. Plan to talk about progress a week or two after your first talk and determine at that time if you still need to check in on things again in the future. While this step doesn’t need to be done with every issue you talk about, it shouldn’t be skipped on the important discussions.

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How do you are partner currently handle disagreement and serious issues? Is it working for you both?

 

Jennifer Good

About Jennifer Good

Chief Romantic and founder of Romance Wire and happily married for 19 years, Jennifer has been dishing out romantic and relationship advice for nearly all of those married years. Her advice and tips have been featured in countless magazines and websites including Ladie's Home Journal, AOL Love channels, ThirdAge and much more.

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