Is Great Couples Communication All It's Hyped Up To Be?
Been to the grocery store lately? One of the primary sources for your weekly programming is the checkout aisle. I do mean programming. You may not realize it but you are being programmed by the media all the time and may not even realize it. In every magazine display you will nearly always find some tabloid displaying THE TOP TEN WAYS TO PERFECTLY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER, or something to that effect.
Communication is overrated! It's a fact. What percentage of conflict in a relationship ought to be solvable? Can you feel the trick question coming on? ;-)
The average response to the question is 90%. Wow, my hat's off to the media. They've done a magnificent job of convincing you to believe in something that does not occur anywhere in healthy relationships.
Drum roll please... the correct answer is 31%. That's right, 31% of relationship conflict is resolvable. So, if you've been expecting more than that, I can almost assure you that you've felt like your relationship is letting you down, big-time!
The good news is that it's likely you've been doing far better than you imagined. Congratulations!
Here are some examples of solvable issues:
You may be wondering what makes up the other 69% percent. These are issues which come up over and over again throughout the course of any healthy relationship. Some of these may sound familiar to you. Have you and your partner ever fought over:
Together time vs. time alone?
Differences in religious perspectives?
These are just a few of many perpetual issues that happy couples face over the course of their relationship together.
Let's look inside a perpetual problem. What are the internal ingredients to a problem with no direct resolution? Glad you asked! Unsolvable issues reflect differences in three particular areas:
Philosophy of life
The average stable relationship will have 10-12 ongoing issues which will periodically surface. Let's go for an example.
Joy is the life of a party. 10 people at a party sounds boring to her. Add 40 more and now we're talking! She's like a rechargeable battery who plugs into the social element as though it's a wall outlet. Throughout the evening, her energy goes up and up. Let's look over for a moment, at her husband, Rob. If Rob is at party of 50, he may try to hang on the coattails of his wife Joy. He may melt down into a small puddle or simply pull a person or two off to the side and chat with the one or two individuals for the entire evening.
After the party Rob may be frustrated with Joy for not paying much attention to him. On the contrary, she may be frustrated with him being such a "party dud." What's really going on is that Joy is simply an extravert and Rob is an introvert. He enjoys small groups or alone time to rejuvenate and she powers up by plugging into people.
Does this mean that Joy doesn't care for Rob, since she didn't stay by his side the entire evening? Is Rob being rude to Joy by not participating more in the party? Periodically they may feel that way, but when they discuss it they realize that what is going on is that they each are built differently. Their personalities are different. This may be one of things which attracted them together in the first place.
The goal then becomes to be able to figure out which struggles are solvable and which are not. Many times a disagreement includes a solvable component alongside pieces you'll fight to the death over. It makes sense doesn't it? Your personalities and core values are part of every conversation you have with your partner, right? How could it be any other way? The more challenging goal then is to decide which part of an argument reflects personality and core values and what parts are negotiable towards a solution.
If you and your partner can solve 31% of your conflict then you're in the top 1% of couples and doing fantastic! If you can honor and respect one another for the other 69%, which involves affirming those beautifully unique individual qualities and idiosyncrasies you each bring to the relationship, well... that's simply Heaven-on-Earth!
Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer &
www.Overcoming-Depression.com Sign up for this newsletter by
visiting either site above.
You are more
marvelous than you can ever imagine! It may be a
thought, a habit, an attitude or a value, but certainly you
have many gifts. Please take a moment and share
one of your gifts, which will definitely be what someone may
need to hear in our online "hope journal" for those
in recovery from depression.
"Marriage is the institution which holds us
together, while we fall in and out of love."
"I have been diagnosed with having a
major depression since April. I have Graves disease
which is deemed to have a role in my depression, but I
just can't seem to feel better. The thyroid is in
remission so now I don't think that has anything to do
I guess my question is how do I get
myself back (I used to be very outgoing and
happy-go-lucky) and also how long does it take."
problems/diseases certainly complicates things when it comes
to depression recovery.
I've worked with several
clients who struggled with thyroid problems in addition to
I've learned to be very
cautious in my approach here. Why? Because after
reading much of the newer research on thyroid issues I am
beginning to believe that thyroid hormone levels can be very
individual in nature. Our thyroid tests only test within
a certain range. You're considered "normal "
if you fall into this range. But, what if you don't FEEL
There's a growing body of
evidence which reflects that YOUR perfect level of
thyroid hormone may not fall within the average range.
If it does not, then you will continue to experience symptoms
associated with hyper or hypo thyroid. Unfortunately,
many doctors will look only at the lab results, say you're
normal and then tell you that you are suffering from
I'm not saying you are not
depressed. You certainly have serious symptoms of
depression. Since you do not report suffering from
chronic, long-term depression and you have a thyroid condition
I strongly encourage you to learn more about the new
information on thyroid conditions, then seek a second doctor
opinion in this particular area. You can begin your
search here at the two best thyroid sites on the net:
Shomon's Thyroid Site
Lowe's Thyroid Site
Announcing: Due to
request I am now offering therapy sessions by
telephone. If that fits with your needs, click below to
email me for more information.