When people are told that they need to communicate more they often think that that is an open invitation to talk but there is a complete difference between talking and communicating.

Communicating is an art, and art of combining the ability to express your opinions and feelings in such a way as to ensure that the person or people you are talking to understand what you are trying to say with the ability to listen and understand another person’s point of view.

The number of times I have sat in a room, often in meetings and at conferences and I’ve just watched and listened to what is going on around me. It is totally fascinating when whole groups of people have no ability to listen to their colleagues, partners or friends and therefore cannot understand or comprehend any opinion other than their own.

What could have been covered in five minutes or learned in half an hour often takes hours or days just because people refuse to sit back, listen and understand.

Over the years it’s amazing the number of times people are provided with information that, if they acted upon, could totally alter a relationship, career or the success of a business. But, because the sheer lack of peoples ability to listen to and think through another persons point of view unique opportunities pass them by.

Relationships are no different to the work environment other than there are, usually, just two of you. Often, what could be a marriage made in heaven is destroyed by the sheer inability to communicate. The most successful relationships, be it business or personnel are those whereby both parties have strong verbal and listening skills.

Many relationship problems begin with poor communication. Couples often feel that their partner should know what they are thinking and how they feel so do not communicate and then wonder why they feel neglected and under valued.

How many people decide not to tell their partner something just because they don’t know how to say it and then the problem just eats away at the relationship until there is no relationship left? What a waste, just the sheer ability to share a problem can make what seemed to be an insurmountable issue a tiny little blip on a large horizon.

So whenever you feel stressed or don’t know what to do don’t just bottle it up, talk about it, seek advice and listen to the answer. Don’t keep quiet when you know in your heart a problem has to be aired and don’t put off until tomorrow what has to be sorted today. Tomorrow never comes!!

It is how you say something that will ruin a relationship and not what you have to say. The wrong way is just to blurt out something that you know will aggravate or distress your partner. The last thing you want is for them to get defensive, storm off or burst into floods of tears. You want the person you are trying to communicate with to be open and perceptive and in order to be able to achieve this, your timing and approach has to be right.

Every individual is different what will work with one person won’t necessarily work with another and with some people all you can do is sew the seed and then let them walk away and work it out for themselves.

One person I know never actually listens to anyone. She is one of those people who is always right no matter what, hasn’t a clue about being a team player and operates within a zero tolerance zone. Traditional approaches and method of reasoning just don’t work and alls you can do is plant the seed of thought which eventually develops into her, own acceptable idea.

Given peoples individuality you need to learn what, is the right approach for you and your partner. Make sure that you never start a discussion if you don’t have time to finish it, don’t insist on a debate when one of you is off out to work, dealing with the kids or just relaxing in front of their favourite TV programme. If the timing seems to be never right ask the question ‘when would it be a good time for us to just sit down and talk?’. Whatever you do, do not let yourself appear agitated either in what you say or how you say it. Body language can just as easily put your partner on the defensive as what you say to them. Even if your partner is vying for a fight just don’t react.

Remember, the first golden rule, approaching defensive with defensive is a sure way to failure.

One of the key ways to improve communication is to develop strong listening skills. Couples often fail to listen to what their partner has to say, interrupt and give the impression that no matter what is said they won’t change their mind. One trick to ensure that you have listened and you do understand is to repeat what you have heard. This will demonstrate that you have listened to what was said and by repeating it back you have the opportunity to comprehend and understand.

How often do we try and work through a problem and it’s only at the point we are explaining the issue to someone else does the magic light bulb switch on which enables us to come up with the answer.

If you are taking an exam would you expect to know everything just by being told it once? For most people I would say not. We have to work at it and work at it hard.

No one ever said marriage would be easy it’s just another lesson we have to learn as we experience life but if you want to save your marriage and make it even more special than it was before then there is very little to stop you.

Relationship problems can lay heavy on your mind, become a burden and what was originally a small issue can develop into an insurmountable mountain.

If you begin to feel that marital issues are beginning to weigh heavily on your mind, take a break and do something you enjoy and preferably with your partner. If you can refocus your attention of the better things in life, day to day issues always seem that much smaller. Spending a little time together and enjoying each other’s company could enable you and your partner to recapture some of the feelings that have been lost through constant arguing and help you regain a positive perspective on your relationship.

Just one last word of advice, when you are feeling down and feel you no longer want to save your marriage just remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

If you believe you have financial issues now what do you think it will be like when you split your assets, if you feel you don’t have time to do things what will it be like when you are on your own or worse a single parent and if you feel lonely now how will you feel when every time you walk in your front door all’s you have is your own company. Now none of these thoughts have been aired to encourage you to stay in a bad relationship but rather to make you consider whether or not yours is as bad as you think.

You are the master of your own destiny and if you want to turn a bad marriage around you have the power at your fingertips.

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