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Asked by Last Updated:

How do I foster better communication?

I feel like my husband and I don’t communicate well or even have conversations where I feel listened to, validated, and like my opinions and thoughts are ok.
I feel like every time I speak, about any subject at all- fun or serious, he says Im wrong or makes me feel like what I said was stupid.
How can we have a conversation that is productive, or even just fun and rewarding because we are hearing each other and enjoying each other’s thoughts and ideas, if he refuses to hear me and refuses to accept anything I say as even valid or intelligent? I can talk with any person, both friends and strangers, and feel respected and listened to, but I can’t talk to the one person that I SHOULD be able to talk to.
It feels awful.
I get offended and I know I can be sensitive, so I have to check that in myself, but I don’t think he realizes how offensive he is when he acts like I have no idea what I’m saying and I’m wrong anyway, so I should just shut up and listen to HIM talk.
After all, anyone would be offended if someone treated them like that every time they tried to have a conversation.
I don’t think I’m being sensitive; I think Im feeling disrespected, and also sad because I used to feel like my husband was my friend, and now I don’t wont to even try and have a conversation with him.

1 Answers

Great question! There are three simple things that will help you apply the “abundance rule.” The abundance rule is that if you can describe to someone their pain as well or better than they can, there is nothing that they will not do for you.   Our biggest need is to be understood.    1. Learn to listen better. Catch the feelings that are behind the words and actions and let that person know that you hear them and ask about feelings and frustrations as many ways as that person can understand from you. Be casual and attentive, watching facial expressions and making soft eye contact.   2. Validate. Let the person you are listening to know that their feelings are real and valid. EMPATHY! Empathy is not sympathy. Learn the difference. Empathy is feeling their feelings with them. Learn the words, facial expressions and gestures that they use when they are hurting, happy and apathetic.   3. Bond. When listening put your palms up. We don’t know all the reasons why but when your palms are up the energy between you changes and is helpful for bonding. Share an understanding of the feelings you know are difficult for them to share, often there is fear keeping hurt and pain from being expressed.

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