Communication Mistakes & The Magic Phrase

Note:  There is no written exercise for this module.  

90 percent of couples state that they struggle with communication in their relationships.  Up to this point, we’ve gone over some ways to help you stay mindful, understand your needs and feelings and how to listen.

Now we’re going to jump into the most common communication mistakes and how to avoid them…and I’m also going to give you a three word phrase that can help you combat defensiveness and gain clarity in all of your conversations!

Imagine that – you can finally feel heard and understood!

I worked with a couple a while back who was consistently arguing about dishes. 

I'll refer to them as Jack & Diane.  Jack would constantly leave his dishes in the sink for Diane to clean - and this made Diane so angry.  Every day Diane would nag Jack to do his own dishes.  She would tell him that she wasn't going to do it anymore - and Jack just didn't understand what was making Diane so angry.  He grew up in a household where his mom always took care of all of the cleaning and housework. 

I knew that the problem wasn't really about the dishes - but Diane kept insisting it was.  During our session - I pushed Diane to get real with her feelings around the dishes.  I wanted her to be very clear on what the dishes represented to her - so Jack could understand. 

Finally, it came out - the dishes were a symbol.  The dirty dishes were a symbol of disrespect.  She felt that Jack didn't appreciate her or value her enough to help her and support her. 

Once Diane was able to gain this clarity and explain her true feelings to Jack - he immediately started helping more around the house. 

He didn't want Diane to feel that way - he did appreciate her. 

As you can see once you become clear of your own feelings and needs, only then can you communicate those to your partner.  

I want the same clarity for you!

First, take a look at this blog that I wrote for MindBodyGreen called, “12 Communication Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Relationship.” 

Yep – open it up in a different window and then come on back here.  I’ll wait…………………………………….

Yeah, you’re back.  So do you make any of those communication mistakes?  If so, what will you do to correct them?  Let me know either via e-mail, private message on Facebook, or in the Facebook Group.

Now, I’m going to give you the three word phrase that will help you in any conversation…it’s especially useful when you are feeling defensive or feel like withdrawing from the conversation. 

It’s a magical phrase…really….

Are you ready?

Here it is….

“Do You Mean…”

Yep, that’s it!  Instead of assuming you know what someone means you need to gain clarity – so you’re both on the same page.

Let me give you an example.

Doug:  Why do we have to go out to dinner with your parents again?

Suzie:  Do you mean…you don’t like my parents? (getting defensive)

Doug:  No, not at all.  I’m just so tired from work and I really just wanted to see you and the kids tonight.

Suzie:  Do you mean…you miss us?

Doug:  Yes, I really do like your parents and enjoy spending time with them, but I really would love a quiet night at home.

Suzie:  Okay, I miss you too – let’s stay home and I’ll call my parents and let them know


Imagine the turn this conversation could’ve taken if Suzie just went with her assumption that Doug didn’t like her parents! 

Of course, this is a perfect case scenario (because I made it up) – but I will promise you right now IT WORKS!

There is no written exercise today as I want to give you a little break!  But, try out the “Do You Mean” exercise and let me know how it works.  As with everything is takes some practice!

Once you’ve watched the video grab your journal and answer the following four questions.  

  1. What is something you learned that you didn't know before?
  2. What is something you re-learned?  (you had known - but it hit you in a different way)
  3. What is something that surprised you?
  4. What is something you are intrigued by and want to think about it more?

Don't forget if you need support or have questions, you can pop into the FB Group anytime!