happens to the best of us. Communication is such a fickle thing, and
the lines of communication can become blurred every so often,
especially when feelings are involved. Even those who think that they
are immune to the confusion of conflict can find themselves drawn into
a communication breakdown when they least expect it, and chaos ensues.
happened to a friend on the weekend, and until to be quite honest, it
took them by surprise. Even those of us who are better equipped than
many others are not immune. A few cutting words from a loved one, hurt
feelings, and a defensive retort that left both with regrets. It was a
silly argument, over something as simple as a misplaced bottle of soda,
the lid off the juice, or newspapers not picked up. But to them, it
represented something much deeper that had been simmering away for a
couple of weeks until the frustration reached breaking point.
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There was intense frustration at having to search for something when it
is not where it was expected to be. Worse still when one person shifted
it and the other didn't know the first place to begin searching.
for that particular shirt or needles and thread, lost car keys, a
document missing from a drawer, missing covers for the outdoor chairs,
all were examples of instances where the house had to be turned
upside-down. A moment's thought or a supportive reply when these things
were discussed would have saved a lot of time and frustration. And the
answer that was received? "You need to open your eyes and organize
This off-hand comment
characterized the undercurrent of misunderstanding and lack of
compassion that had been running through the relationship for quite
some time. One partner did the majority of the household chores and
felt aggrieved that their efforts weren't recognized.
or gratitude was not expected, but simple recognition was. Getting told
that "I don’t expect you to tidy the house or cook my dinner every
night" was interpreted by my friend as ingratitude, and hurt her even
So where to from here? My friend's partner
felt guilty at coming home every night to the perfect household,
whereas she felt guilty if it wasn’t perfect. It was never about her
trying to make him feel guilty, but it seems it did. And this is where
the communication fell down. He misinterpreted my friend's efforts, and
she in turn misinterpreted his response.
communication, communication. My friend needed to be considered when
things were not put back in their place. When two people live together
it involves and adjustment in routines, habits, and attitudes. Some
consideration of her feelings needed to be taken into account in order
for the relationship to move forward.
a need to voice frustrations before they get to boiling point. What was
needed was a commitment to talking about feelings more often, and in
such a way that both partners could do so without judgment or
consequence. Open communication was the key to their success, rather
than suppressing feelings.
When people feel
guilt or stress, it leads them to act funny ways. Often stress and
guilt are barriers to communication. The key to overcoming them is to
recognize what it is, and have the courage to talk about it. You might
be able to do it as a couple, or you might want the help of a friend
who can listen to the way you are communicating with each other and
offer insights and advice.
They got it sorted
out, and kissed and hugged. It wouldn’t hurt so much if you didn’t feel
such love at the same time. But it serves as a good reminder to all.
Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forget to
think of the other person. You also need to entertain the possibility
that you are misinterpreting each other. Talking about it is the way to
expose the miscommunication and let the healing begin.
A problem shared is a problem halved...
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