February is a month for celebrating love and loving relationships. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner or not, you probably have several important relationships in your life; a romantic partner, parents, children, a co-parent, friends, and/or coworkers.
When these important relationships are going well, they support your well-being. When they aren’t going well, they can be a significant source of stress in your life.
Communication break downs can be a significant contributor to relationship stress. Conversely, productive communication can be a contributor to relationship building, connection, repair, and health and strength.
You have the power to be a contributor to relationship strength and connection, rather than communication and relationship break-down. Before you say anything…
It’s a simple question. If your answer is “Yes”; then the answer is also simple, go ahead and say what you wanted to say.
If your honest answer to this question is “No”; then the simple answer is, obviously don’t say what you wanted to say.
What’s not so simple is; then, what to do instead? This is a key relationship challenge.
How can you express yourself in a way that ultimately moves you toward the relationship you want with that person?
To accomplish your relationship goals will require:
- Clarity about what you want in the relationship
- Communication skills and tools to say what you want to say in a way that supports the relationship goal
- Space to think about what to say before you speak so that your responses are thoughtful.
Take time to respond, not react.
The simple question you ask yourself gives you the time and space to pause and think, so that you can be intentional with your response.
Try using this question in your conversations this week. What do you notice as a result?
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Patton, & Heen
The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong & Loving Marriage by Heitler