Earlier I wrote about two truths when it comes to communication: 1) the explanation used to describe a person or situation is not the person and 2) people do not operate out of sensory experience, but rather out of their interpretation or map of reality.
Today we’ll explore two more advanced truths that foster healthy communication:
#3 All people mean well or have good intentions.
This advanced truth is often hard for people to swallow. It’s that all people mean well or have good intentions. Remember that these are useful presuppositions, not absolute truths. It’s useful to believe that at any given moment your partner is doing the best he or she knows how. If you at least credit your partner for operating out of his or her map of reality to accomplish desirable goals, then chances are the person will feel respected. From respect comes trust, followed by the desire to communicate with you to reach a mutually satisfying agreement.
#4 The person with the most flexibility has control of the system.
The fourth advanced truth is that the person with the most flexibility has control of the system. For example, when your child is screaming in the supermarket, it’s likely that you will not be able to get her under control by asking politely. Just at that moment when you are begging her to cooperate, she throws herself on the floor or knocks several items off the shelf as you push the cart by. If you become embarrassed by her display, you may be tempted to punish or bribe her. You may also try to leave the store as soon as possible, making apologies as you fly out the door. If you take any of these alternatives, you have allowed yourself to operate according to your child’s terms. Therefore, she has become the person with the most flexibility, and she is in control. In other words, whatever she does will get a response from you.
On the other hand, if you ignore the tantrum, continue your shopping, or leave the store immediately without giving your daughter what she is demanding, you are the controlling element in the system. You have remained in your reality and have exercised more flexible options than she has. Similarly, when you have a conflict with your partner about business or home life, you are at an advantage by remaining flexible.
By embracing the basic and advanced truths of healthy communication, you have many more options available to you to listen to and understand your partner, and to move both of you toward a mutually agreeable solution.
- make time to communicate,
- refuse to stray off the topic,
- listen to the well-intended meaning behind your partner’s words and actions,
- remain open to the prospect that you could be wrong,
- recognize that your partner is so unique that she or he will surprise you daily,
- are willing to change even though you have always done things a certain way in the past,
- and refuse to compromise but press for a win-win solution,
then you will be better able to guide yourself and your spouse away from conflict and toward appropriate solutions.
If you’re having trouble communicating with your partner, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.
If you live elsewhere, we can also discuss best communication practices for entrepreneurial couples via a secure video Q & A session. Learn more by visiting Entrepreneurial Couples Remote Education.