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Personal Communication

Pre-marriage questions I still want to answer

1. How would you like your partner to tell you (and show you) that you are appreciated?

Telling me, being physically affectionate.

4. How would you prefer your partner to request changes in some of the things that you do or say?

I’m really open to the NVC way of doing it, which is:

  • Make an explicit, specific request using positive action language (i.e., do this, not don’t do that)
  • Something that can be done here and now, not in the future.
  • It’s a request, not a demand (I don’t think she ever makes demands)

5. When do you feel listened to by your partner?

🔲 Lets me talk without interruption.
🔲 Agrees with what I am saying.
🔲 Lets me say anything I want (within agreed upon limits).
🔲 Smiles warmly at me when I talk.
Faces me squarely and looks into my eyes (this can be hard when you are driving!).
Doesn’t get angry with me or reacts to me without thinking.
🔲 Lets me do what is important to me.
Asks questions and makes comments.
🔲 Changes his / her mind to understand me.
Puts away busyness (the TV or web surfing, etc.) to focus in.
Tries to figure out my feelings.
Values my opinion more than our friends or family.

Questions for New Marriage

1. Describe how your personal communication is similar or different than when you were pre-married? If there are changes, what do you attribute these changes to?

I think I am a lot more open and comfortable with discussing things I previously would’ve found too embarrassing or contentious to bring up. I no longer fall into the trap of withdrawing during conflict. I think the similarities between now and pre-marriage are that both my wife and I are often left dissatisfied with conflict resolution conversations.

2. Describe the “hotspots” for your communication

I have problems showing empathy for how Kate is feeling without saying something dismissive to try to fix a problem that usually can’t be fixed with words in the moment.

I think Kate has difficulty telling me that I have hurt her feelings or have said something stupid. It usually comes out, but after enough time has elapsed for her to think I’m uncaring.

3. How do you set the opportunity (atmosphere) for personal communication?

This could be one of our problems: I think sometimes we embark on potentially contentious communication without first making sure that we’re both able to commit to it. Time pressures, current mood, etc., could affect this and I think we (definitely me) would probably benefit from being more explicit about availability.

4. Someone has said that if 80% of our communication was affirmative and appreciative, most of our communication problems would disappear. What do you think?

I agree. I think communication in my marriage goes much more smoothly when we both use positive rather than negative language. (Not saying it’s always easy or possible.)