Communication to save your marriage
“…Often it is the way that we communicate about issues that leads us to seek relationship counselling, rather than the issue itself…“
Communication is one of the most common reasons people seek marriage counselling. It might seem like other issues are the problem…. and sometimes they are…
BUT… Often it is the way that we communicate about issues that leads us to seek relationship counselling, rather than the issue itself.
To support helpful communication, let’s look at a few tips that could help save your marriage. Today’s tip is the “I feel” statement.
# 1 Relationship Counselling Tip To Save Your Marriage
The “I Feel” Statement
I first came across “I feel” statements in an assertiveness training group. Since then I have seen many variations, and even developed a few myself.
“I feel” statements can be a blame-free way of communicating what is going on for us, and what we would like to happen. The word “you” is NOT used in the initial two steps of this variation of “I feel” statement.
A simple “I feel” statement could be in three parts:
Step One: State how I feel, and describe the situation.
For example: I feel upset when the plates are left on the table after dinner.
(I feel _______ when _________.)
We are using the “I” statement communication-tool in an intentional way to express our feelings and describe the situation where the feelings occur. We are intentional about not saying the word ‘you’. The word ‘you’ can bring a feeling of blame. Our intention is to invite the other person to participate in our happiness. Blaming is not usually a helpful part of this process.
Step Two: Stating what I would like to happen.
For example: What I would like to happen is – that the plates are taken to the dishwasher after the meal. (What I would like to happen is____________________ .)
Again, we are describing a situation that we are inviting another person to be a participant in. We are not saying the word ‘you’.
Step Three: Check in to see what the other person thinks.
For example: What do you think?
Yes…here we use the word you. We are inviting the other person’s comments on the ideas we have presented.
“I feel” statements can be used on their own, or as a tool in a more structured dialogue. Simple communication tools like this can help save your relationship.
If you would like relationship counselling to support you in developing safe communication in your relationships, please contact Jenny at Courage Counselling.