Communication in a Relationship

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5. Create multiple solutions. Don't go back to your original agenda. Aim to find alternative or creative solutions that reduce emotions and tension.

6. Rate the possible solutions. Remember that no one can force an unacceptable solution on the other.

7. Combine and create a mutually acceptable solution. Create something acceptable to both parties, if this doesn't work - go back to step 1 and ensure both parties are being totally honest.

8. Be sure both parties agree to work towards resolving the issue.

Troubleshooting For Problems in Communication

Control or Power Issues: Effective communication cannot take place if one person has "control" over the other or where there is not mutual respect and equality of relationship. To stay in control leads to relational isolation as the underdog reacts in anger at being manipulated or belittled.

Triangulation: Do not bring in a third party to avoid direct confrontation. If you have a problem with someone, go directly to that person. Don't dump your accusations on mutual friends or your children in the hope of winning support to balance the scales in your favour - it leads to more substantial and long-lasting damage, especially when a child is used as a weapon between parents.

19 Steps to Effective Communication

1. See communication as an opportunity to praise, build-up, affirm, heal, support and give positive reinforcement, rather than to correct, criticise, tear down, hurt, wound, lash out at. Praise opens doors to further communication, while criticism shuts them down.

2. Remember that actions speak louder than words; non-verbal communication usually is more powerful than verbal communication. Avoid double messages in which the verbal and the non-verbal messages convey something contradictory. (Credibility gap)

3. Define what is important and stress it; define what is unimportant and de-emphasise or ignore it. Avoid fault-finding.

4. Communicate in ways that show respect for the other person's worth as a human being. "Avoid statements which begin with the words "You never ..." or "I think you ...".