(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: Enhancing Communication by Dr Ken McGill)
A few tips to help you and your spouse create effective communication
Speaking occurs when…
1. …I remember that the person that I am speaking to is not the enemy.
2. …I remember the reason I am speaking is to make things better.
3. …I ask the Listener “is this a good time to talk?”
4. …I ask myself “Is what I am about to say going to lead me closer to, or further away from my goal?”
5. …I share My Reality (my side of the coin) by finishing the following sentence stems:
· As We Talk(ed) about…
· What I Think Is (Thought)…
· What I Feel Is (Felt)… (Joy, Anger, Pain, Fear, Love, Shame, Guilt, Hope…)
· Going Forward, what I’d like to do is… (or Going Forward what I’d like for you to consider is)…
6. …I take full responsibility for my thoughts and feelings without blame. I also increase my chances of being listened to by limiting myself to 2 sentences in each of the above-mentioned areas.
7. …I empower the Listener by letting him/her know exactly what I am requesting.
8. …I ask for specific, clear and achievable behaviors that would help me to feel better right now.
9. …I appreciate what I get, and let go of what I don’t get.
10. …I remember to respect, honor, esteem, accept and thank the Listener for giving me their undivided attention.
11. …I relinquish my need to be right, relinquish my need to control the Listener (and the outcome of the conversation), and I relinquish my need to “spew the truth as I see it” onto the Listener.
12. …I exercise patience with the Listener, by responsibly holding, containing, and effectively delivering my heated emotions, as one holds and hands to another hot coffee in a container. To do otherwise is to wound them with my words, effectively throwing my heated emotions on them irresponsibly, in an uncontained way, sabotaging my ability to be heard by the Listener.
13. …I AM UNDERSTOOD, due to my engagement in a process of speaking, describing, comprehending and informing the Listener of my viewpoint(s). Together, we “collect and assemble” all of the pieces of the issues(s), seeing how they fit together, like two people collecting pieces of a puzzle and putting them together. This is the “word picture” of the word Understanding.
14. …I have “drilled down” with my thoughts, due to thinking, observing, considering and contemplating the issue(s) before me. I increase the possibility of being heard as I exercise discernment, perception, and comprehension, with myself and with the Listener. Wisdom (becoming skilled at living) is attained by engaging in this learning (and communication) process.
15. …I understand that maturity is a reflection and an outcome of the Listener and I identifying and accurately assembling the pieces of our life puzzle together. As we “step back” and observe, we understand, as we both see the larger, greater and more complex purpose, implication and opportunities beyond ourselves.