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Home » Behavior, Communication, Featured, Headline, Problem Solving, Relationships

Communication; the 3 Key Problems to Communicating Effectively with Your Partner

Submitted by on January 8, 2013 – 12:55 amNo Comment

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Author: Rosy Anderson

It’s an accepted fact that communication is essential to the well being of any relationship; but from the relationships around us we see many couples that have problems successfully communicating. Communicating effectively on an issue with your partner involves both of you coming to a common awareness about the issue in discussion so that you have a shared picture of the issue. So why is communication with your partner so difficult?

1. Variation between the rate of hearing and that of speaking. Yes it’s true and you have probably seen this in your relationships without actually understanding what was going on. Studies show that the average person speaks at the speed of 150 words per minute but listens at the speed of 700 words per minute. You thus listen at a faster rate than the rate at which the person speaking is speaking at; meaning that as you listen you have ‘unused’ capacity. This is why your mind tends to wander when you are listening to anyone for any length of time as your mind uses the ‘unused’ capacity that you have as you listen. So when your mind wanders it’s not necessarily because your partner is boring; you are just wired that way and you must learn to use this ‘unused’ capacity to help you listen at a higher capacity by listening actively to your partner. To listen actively you need to focus your eyes and mind on your partner and give them your undivided attention. Ask appropriate and relevant questions or acknowledge what your partner says by making the appropriate sounds. Look at them and think about what your partner is saying and work to stop your mind wandering off on a tangent on whatever task you have left undone or the dream that you had last night, etc.

2. Communication is complex. We mistakenly think that communicating with a partner is talking to them but the reality is that it is not that simple.

Communication has two main parts:

i) Verbal communication which is 45% of your communication consists of content (7%) and the tone of voice (38%). The tone of your voice is thus more important in communication than the content or words that you are using. Your tone must support your words and if it doesn’t then the listener gets confused. Think for example of the common problem when a man asks his visibly upset gal ‘what’s wrong?’ and she says ‘nothing’ in a tone that suggests that fire and brimstone are about to fall. He doesn’t know what to do since the words and tone say two diverging things.

ii) Non-verbal communication which is 55% of all communication consists of body language, facial expression and body and facial posture. The trickiness with with non-verbal communication is that a lot of it depends on the society you grew up in and the way you were socialized. To communicate effectively with your partner you may need to ask your partner what they mean when they display certain non-verbal gestures or grimaces as they may not mean what you think. Many relationships struggle and flounder because a man or woman will assume the meaning of their partner’s non-verbal communication based on their own socialization and this is often incorrect. Specific families have their own non-verbal communication and it takes time and a willingness to learn to actually know your partner’s non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is an even greater challenge when your partner is from a different community or country.

For communication to be effective your verbal and non-verbal communication must align so that the content, tone of voice and the non-verbal say the same thing. If the different components contradict each other then there is confusion. You know how it is…you speak with your partner and come away feeling confused. That’s what happened! If you are telling your partner how much you love them (content) and your tone is distracted (tone) and your body is engaged in some other activity(non-verbal)…do you expect them to believe you? Remember that next time!

3. Men and women are just different! The differences between the sexes are evident in communication in two main ways.

i) Ladies speak more words. Generally ladies speak more than guys although researchers disagree on the magnitude of this difference; but you must have seen this in your relationship. This often translates in ladies using more words than is necessary (from a guy’s perspective) and men giving insufficient information (from a lady’s perspective). You need to negotiate a compromise here so that the lady gets the required information without overwhelming the man.

ii) Ladies multitask better than guys do. A man functions best if he can deal with one issue at a time from beginning to start, while a woman can discuss different issues back and forth while doing something totally unrelated with no problem. To facilitate effective communication each sex must understand this difference and keep it in mind when communicating with their partner.

Hopefully now you understand why communication with your partner is such an uphill task and what you need to do to overcome the key problems to communicating effectively with your partner.

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About the Author

Rosy Anderson is a researcher in social economic issues and the way they affect decision making; and she enjoys writing and being in healthy, happy relationships.

For all your he-she communication issues I would recommend this comprehensive communication guide so that you know exactly how to handle each situation so that you get what you need and you are able to influence your man.

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