What is Your Body Language Really Saying?

 The way you talk, listen, look, hug, make love, move and react all speak volumes about the state of your emotions and what your body really wants to say.     What silent signals are you sending?

What is YOUR Body Language Really Communicating?

What is YOUR Body Language Really Communicating?

Often it’s the things you don’t say that speak louder than what you do say. Most communication that we send and receive is wordlessly spoken through our facial expressions, body positioning, pace, intensity and tone of voice. Sometimes, your body language is quite obvious and conscious, such as when you scowl and/or give the finger to the driver who just cut you off and almost caused an accident.

But then there are those times when you think you’re giving your partner the glowing reassurance he needs and what you get back is “so you don’t really like it.” Huh? Or when you sincerely say “I want us to be closer” and he says “don’t look at me like that!” Like what?   What your body language is conveying makes the difference between being heard, known and received or discounted, ignored and disbelieved.

When you improve your own body language awareness, your ability to effectively communicate, hear and be heard and get what you want will multiply tenfold.

Use this 60 second body language check-in to tune in and make sure your verbal and nonverbal signals are in sync:

 

My body is…

  1. Stiff, clenched, crossed, tight-fisted
  2. Swaying, rocking, fidgeting
  3. Fatigued, sleepy, droopy
  4. Comfortable and alert. Shoulders and back are relaxed. Body is open, uncrossed, slightly leaning forward.

My facial expression is…

  1. Angry and annoyed
  2. Tense and nervous
  3. Bored and disinterested
  4. Emotionally present, calm, friendly and interested

My eye contact is…

  1. Intense and aggressive
  2. Anxious and shifting
  3. Unfocused, unresponsive, looking away
  4. Focused and calm

My breathing is…

  1. Shallow and rapid
  2. Stressed and nervous
  3. Labored and difficult
  4. Deep, slow, full and relaxed

My tone is…

  1. Tight, forced or restricted
  2. Whining, sulking or shrill
  3. Angry, demanding or frustrated
  4. Loving, positive, confident and friendly

My reaction is…

  1. Too fast: I’m defensive and argumentative.
  2. Too slow: My attention is drifting in and out.
  3. Deflective: I’m turning away, blaming, not listening.
  4. Responsive and inquisitive: I’m emotionally available, listening, interested, wanting to understand.

Obviously, number four is the ideal state you want to be in.

Here’s a little secret: The messages your body sends are usually aligned with your emotions. You can begin to make your body and words more congruent by first asking yourself “what is my emotional state right now?” The minute you feel your shoulders tense, jaw tighten or fists clench, it’s time to do an emotional check-in.

And don’t forget to watch your breathing!  Breathing deep and comfortably naturally influences your mood and thoughts, how your brain and body function and how sensitive your nerves are. Taking a few deep breaths can give you the pause you need to emotionally check in and purposely coordinate your body language with what your mouth (and heart) wants to say.

Knowing and dealing with your underlying emotions before speaking and reacting will help you avert miscommunication.  When you match your body language with your words, you deliver a cohesive, congruent message that says what you mean and means what you say.

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert, and was originally published on SheKnows.com. To see post click here.

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Couple man carrying woman

Couple man carrying womanRemember a time when you couldn’t keep your hands off your partner?

One look, one touch, and you’d spend all day glowing in what felt like an all-consuming passion. You seemed to have endless energy and time for romance and lovemaking.

But, now that you’ve been together a while, things have changed.

Your days are now filled with to-do lists and social obligations rather than steamy all-nighters and poetic love notes. When your partner caresses you, you might get sleepy rather than turned on. A nap, posting on Facebook or watching TV might sound better than sex.

You love your partner, but maybe you’re just not “feeling it” anymore.

When we first fall in love, the romantic thrill happens effortlessly because pleasure-boosting hormones create a neuro-chemical cocktail that drive us toward greater intimacy.  Nothing is more important than being with that one person who makes you feel like you’re on fire. It certainly didn’t take planning or feel like work to keep the flames of lust burning and your interest in one another growing.

Unfortunately, this euphoria rarely last forever especially when the demands and responsibilities of real life take over.

Suddenly, there’s precious little time or energy left over in your day for an affectionate caress, an intimate conversation, or a night of romance. It isn’t long before your partner seems more like a roommate than a lover.  You lay down each night next to a person who feels miles away from you. You begin to wonder if you even know each other anymore.  When this emotional disconnect starts to happen,  you’re treading into the danger zone.

For monogamous couples, is it just a matter of time before the romance is dead and the relationship begins to drift apart?

Not necessarily. It depends on the little things you do on a daily basis that can mean the difference between a passionate, thriving relationship and one that’s on a slow death walk towards infidelity or divorce.

Is it really possible to keep the passion and romance alive after 5, 10, 20 years together?         

Absolutely!!

Giving each other a daily dose of what I call the 3 A’sATTENTION, APPRECIATION and AFFECTIONare the critical factors in keeping any relationship alive with interest, desire and love.

If a nap,(watching tv, being on Facebook, working overtime,  chatting with friends) sounds better than making love to you… APPLY these 6 strategies to get the enthusiasm and closeness back PRONTO! 

Text I love you1. Show your love in small ways.

Try this. Leave a love note on their pillow, stuck in their purse, briefcase or book they’re reading. Bring home a special treat you know your partner will love. Text, call or email them to say, “I’m thinking of you.”  Write a list of all the reasons you love and appreciate them and whisper each one into their ear. Sometimes it’s the little gestures that make the biggest impression.

2. Shake things up.   

Break through the ho-hum “I’m so bored” barrier that often plagues long-term relationships byCouple playing at beach learning something or doing something new together. Sharing activities of mutual interest is the glue that makes relationship work and create happiness.    Go ice skating, take a salsa lesson, rent rollerblades, go for a full moon hike, rent a bicycle built for two, or celebrate a milestone other than your anniversary—like the anniversary of the first day you made love.  It’s amazing what getting out of your normal routine and pushing your comfort boundaries will do for your love life.

You are BEAUTIFUL3. Be generous with praise.

What you focus your attention on, grows.  Say “thank you,” offer a hug, pay your partner a compliment—anything that communicates you acknowledge and value how important they are to you and that you appreciate them. Accentuating the positive and what is good in each other and in the relationship is a win/win for both partners. When you feel grateful for the good things in your life, you attract more of those good things to you.

holding hands

4. Touch and embrace often.

So many couples hold back kissing, touching, or holding each other until they have time or the desire to have sex.   Researchers have found that  holding hands relieves stress and affectionate touch boosts the body’s feel good hormones.  Let’s face it, touch is a fundamental part of our existence since we were born. So even a simple hug each day is actually good for your health and wellbeing.    Hold hands.   Stroke your partner’s arm or shoulder softly as you walk by. Give your partner a 20 second kiss when they walk in the door or are leaving for the day.   Affection is the way to make love all day outside of the bedroom.

5. Create intimate time.

couple laughing in bed

Nothing says “I love you” like spending quality alone time together.  Before rushing out the door in a frenzy in the morning, get up one hour earlier and share breakfast in bed, read an inspirational passage aloud,  or go for an early morning walk.  At the end of the day, instead of plunking down in front of the TV or computer,  give each other a massage, take a shower together or do something novel like reading erotic literature out loud or telling each other steamy stories before turning in for the night.   Carving out time during the day to be intimate and present to your partner strengthens your bond and builds the desire for affection, setting the stage for great lovemaking.

Couple Relaxing on Couch6. Communicate clearly, honestly and frequently

Talking to each other is one the main tools we use to connect with each other.  When  we extend ourselves and let our partner know who we are, what we need and how we feel, we open the doors to greater intimacy.  Take at least 30 minutes and put out your ‘do not disturb sign’ to the world. Turn off the phone, close the door, and tell the kids, unless there is an emergency, not to even think about knocking. Then, sit down and take a few minutes to breathe and settle in with each other. Ask your partner what he or she needs from you.  Take turns. Openness and honesty are essential. The goal is to show more and see more of each other, rather than defend the status quo. It takes time and patience but is worth it.

You get out of your relationship what you invest into it.

When you make daily love “deposits” of attention, appreciation and affection into your relationship account,  you’ll be able to maintain a healthy and sexy love “balance”. By following these six simple strategies and making love a priority in your life, everything else in your life will feel a whole lot sweeter.

 

This article, written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert, was originally posted on The HuffingtonPost. 

 



2 Responses to 6 Passion Boosting Tips to Bring LOVE Back to Your LOVE Life

  1. roxannesmith says:

    For a long time I feel like my husband and I struggled to regain the intimacy in our marriage that we once had. When we were young it was so easy like you said, but then after fifteen years and three kids, things kind of got left by the wayside. Eventually we both noticed it and sat down to talk about ways to get our fire back. Many of the things we talked about were exactly the same as what you mentioned above. In the end we took a vacation together, just the two of us, and started doing a lot of small things to remind each other that we were loved. If anyone else is having the same troubles that I was then let me say that the advice above is good and has certainly helped my marriage.

    • Dr. Sheri says:

      Dearest Roxanne,
      Here’s a basic truth. Relationship grows when we care. Closeness grows when we share. Bonding grows when we pair.
      So happy that you found the tips helpful and that you and your husband are investing in making the relationship between you work again.
      XO
      Dr. Sheri

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communication-breakdown

Editor’s note: I was  thrilled to be asked to write an article on power struggles for the fine folks at SheKnows.com.  I hope you enjoy my article.

ENOUGH FIGHTING, ALREADY!

by Sheri Meyers, Psy.D

communication-breakdownYou’re in the middle of another argument with your partner. They’re driving you crazy. Can’t they see that you’re obviously right, and they’re so totally wrong? Their sense of logic confounds you. You can hardly believe that they aren’t budging from their stance. Why don’t they see that your way makes total sense, and their way is just, well… stupid?

You know it’s bad when even the smallest things start another round of bickering, tension and eye rolling — where to eat, what movie to see, whose responsibility is this or that, when-this-or-that was supposed to occur. What starts as a small difference in viewpoint ends up becoming a righteous, no-win, my way-or-the-highway yelling and screaming temper tantrum or an icy-cold freeze out. It feels like just a matter of time before either one of you decides that they no longer want to stick around.

The more you clash, the less attractive your partner seems. Doubts and judgments arise: “Are you and I compatible anymore?” “What on earth did I ever see in you?” “Why is it so damn hard to work things out?” You’re beginning to wonder if all this arguing, frustration, angry glares and/or punishing silent treatment are signs that it’s time to give up the fight and move on from the relationship.

When winning and being right becomes more important than being in love, the victory and temporary sense of righteousness is hollow and short lived. Once the dust settles, these win-lose battles often leave both partners wondering, “Where the hell did our love go?”

You might think breaking up is the only answer, given that you clearly have different values and priorities. But is it? Is there a way out of this vicious cycle?

The good news is there is a way to fix things.

How to recognize a power struggle

LOVE question mark

Power struggles are poison to maintaining a healthy, happy, open relationship. I painfully admit that I’ve been there. And my guess is, so have you.

But how do you know whether you’re experiencing a power struggle or just not seeing something eye-to-eye?

A good rule of thumb is that if you and your partner both feel that yours is the only correct solution, no matter how much evidence is presented to dispute it, chances are you are in a power struggle.

Here are the behavioral clues and cues to watch out for…

You are…

  • Not listening to each other.
  • Becoming defensive.
  • Feeling like you and your partner are on separate teams or planets.
  • Emotionally freezing up and shutting down OR arming up and preparing for a war.
  • Thinking “I’m right, you’re wrong.” “This is YOUR fault.” “YOU must change and do it my way or else.”
  • Answering yes to more than one of the above is a pretty good indicator that you and your partner are in the midst of a power struggle.

Here’s a surprising fact: Power struggles usually have very little to do with what you are actually arguing about! They have everything to do with how each of you feels about your place and position in the relationship.

holding handsThe power struggle’s secret agenda and your love opportunity

“Seeing others as basically compassionate instead of hostile and selfish helps us relax, trust, live at ease. It makes us happier.” — The 14th Dalai Lama

 

As a marriage and family therapist for over 20 years, I can tell you that most of the time, whatever is pushing your buttons is usually a reflection of your own unresolved hurts and beliefs that are silently screaming for attention and healing. No matter how distant, angry or closed you may be feeling in the moment, this can be a perfect opportunity to stop reacting and start reflecting on the source of your feelings.

To discontinue engaging in a power struggle, you need to move away from the adversarial energy of competition and control (Me vs. You, I’m the boss and you’re not, I’m better/smarter than you are) to one of cooperation and camaraderie (We are a team. We can work this out. I cherish you.).

Reconnection and the return to love can literally be just a heartbeat away. It involves taking a pause, becoming present and open to attune and commune in the spirit of curiosity, compassion and clemency. It’s about treating your partner as your best friend. It helps to remember a moment when you felt close and madly in love and begin to breathe that consciousness in.

 

hands forming heart

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do I NEED to be right?
  • Is STICKING to my position that important?
  • Would I rather be RIGHT or HAPPY?
  • Is there room to LIGHTEN UP and relax about this?
  • If I could transform this moment, how would I want it to be?
  • If this was my BEST FRIEND, how would I behave?
  • What would it be like if I chose to BE THE GENEROUS, LOVING ONE?

A shift immediately happens when you can find the place (however small it is) where you understand and agree with your partner’s point of view. When either one of you withdraws your energy from proving the other wrong to searching for where you agree, the power struggle crumbles.

Once you find that small place of agreement, you have a choice. You can change your mind, stop reacting or change the subject. You can choose to learn something about yourself instead of being hell-bent on making your partner wrong. You can choose to let these struggles be a road to ruin or a path to self-understanding, deeper love and security in your relationship.

The power struggle challenge becomes a blessing when you use it as a catalyst for self-awareness, a call to heal and a springboard into a new, mature, balanced way of communicating and loving.

This article was written by Sheri Meyers, Psy.D., America’s leading love and intimacy expert, and first appeared on SheKnows.com



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people

After five years of dating, Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel said bye-bye to single life and tied the knot in a top-secret, star-studded, intimate ceremony at a quaint seaside resort in the southern Italian city of Fasano.

But the big question on everyone’s mind is: Will it last? Do they have a fighting chance? For the most part, celebrity marriages rarely have the fairy tale happily-ever-after ending fans hope they will. Unfortunately, celebrity news is packed full of star couples calling it quits.

The number one challenge Jessica & Justin will be facing, as life-long partners and especially as a celebrity couple, is learning how to maintain the balance between family life and their star-studded careers. The demands of separate schedules, hungry fans, incessant paparazzi intrusion, infidelity temptations, along with the normal bumps in the road that every relationship faces take an enormous toll on celebrity marriages.

Despite the challenges, this beautiful pair has some good things going for them. For one thing, Jessica and Justin are starting married life with a lot relationship experience as a couple under their belts. Five years gave them plenty of time to really learn about each other, take off their mask, and really see and know each other. Also, they’ve both managed successful careers, kept their private lives private, survived a break-up and even with all the numerous available options (the emphasis is on numerous) available to them, they have come together to say, “I do, with YOU.”

How can Jessica & Justin keep the smiles on their faces and the glow in their hearts burning long after the wedding excitement dies down as they return to their ordinary (er…extraordinary) lives once again?

Here are some tips for Jessica & Justin, but truly for anyone who wants a thriving, happy, loving, and long-lasting relationship:

1. Give each other attention. Spend quality time together, communicating, sharing, building your friendship, and having fun. Let’s face it, we all want to know that we are loved, valued, accepted, and known—even movie stars. It’s important to demonstrate to your partner, in words and actions, that you love them.
When apart (working on a film shoot or promoting your next big project), keep the communication flowing and interactive: Text message, instant messaging, sexting, Skype date nights, anything that says, “Wishing you were here with me. I love you.”

Celebrities, like us regular people, have a lot of distractions and responsibilities that can take time away from relationship. Too many distractions and too much time apart can certainly fizzle the sizzle of romantic love because it creates a strain on the friendship and chips away at trust. Combat this by keeping the conversation and communication flowing. When something doesn’t feel right, speak up right away and vow to work through it.

2. Appreciate each other. Be generous with praise, gratitude and acknowledgement. Accentuating the positive and acknowledging what is good in each other and in the relationship, has positive effects on both partners. Let your partner know OUT LOUD when you are thinking GOOD things about them. It makes them feel good and it’s so easy to do!

3. Be affectionate. Studies have shown that affectionate touch actu¬ally boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hor¬mone that influences bonding and attachment. So embrace, kiss and touch regularly. Show your partner that you’re there for them, physically, with a hug, or a light touch on the shoulder as you walk past. It takes little time to open your arms to one another, but these little displays of affection have HUGE benefits.

Here’s a simple truth: you get out of a relationship what you put into it. You’ve got to make love deposits into your relationship “account” daily in order to maintain a healthy love balance.

Just as your car needs fuel and your body needs food, an intimate relationship needs quality time together, candid communication and thoughtful acts of loving kindness on a daily basis to keep the romance flowing and the friendship growing.

Jessica & Justin will both need to overcome the challenges of their celebrity careers and make their relationship their number one priority in order to keep their marriage thriving. Applying these tips for Affection, Attention and Appreciation will help this celebrity ‘super power couple’ prove their critics wrong by staying happily married for a long, long time!

We all have unique circumstances in our lives that make marriage more of a pragmatic reality than a “fairy tale” fantasy. Celebrities have even more challenges than the average person, despite what their lives may look like from the outside. Yet, by making love a priority every day, both Justin and Jessica, and you, too, can make your relationship, and therefore your life, a whole lot sweeter.

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.



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communication-breakdown

POWER STRUGGLES = NO surrender. NO LOVE. I’d rather be RIGHT!

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone”.
~John Lennon, Paul McCartney “We Can Work It Out”

What is a Power Struggle?

A power struggle occurs when being right is more important than being connected and in love. Basically it’s when union and communion is subverted for righteous triumph.

A good rule of thumb is that if you and your partner both feel that yours is the only correct solution, then chances are, you are in a power struggle.

Usually Power Struggles have little to do with what you are actually talking about, and everything to do with how each feels about their place and position in the relationship.  An argument could begin over something innocuous— where to eat, what movie to see, who was supposed to pick up what, when this or that was supposed to occur… but ends up being a referendum on the relationship as a whole.

 If you or your partner become stuck in righteous, blaming, unbending, know it all, “my-way-or-the- highway,” ” I’m right, you’re wrong” thinking, and/or you stop listening, become defensive, arm up, and feel righteous about your position, it’s a pretty good indicator that you are in a power struggle.

 A power struggle drains the blood and life force out of shared love and  instead, creates separation and a lose/lose situation.   Winning and being right becomes more important than being in love.   And once the dust settles, we are left with the painful result of our  behavioral choices….. ‘Where did my beloved go?’

Power struggles are poison to maintaining  a healthy, happy, open relationship.

How do I avoid being in a power struggle with my partner?

communication breakdownThe best way to avoid being in a power struggle is to realize that even if you win the battle, you lose the war. If one of you has a problem, it’s a WE problem, not a ME problem. If one partner is stuck and polarized in opposition, then there is a WE problem.

You can meet and match fear with fear, or you can hold the heart of the relationship in your arms and calm your partner. Treat your partner as your best friend. Listen, find that place of mutual agreement, because the truth is neither one of you is 100% right and neither one of you is 100% wrong.

The task at hand is finding a way to move away from the energy of competition (me vs. you) to cooperation (we are a team). Change your focus from looking for what’s wrong, to searching for what’s right- a place you agree with what your partner is saying. Start there.

“Seeing others as basically compassionate instead of hostile and selfish helps us relax, trust, live at ease. It makes us happier.” ~The 14th Dalai Lama

The Chatting or Cheating Power Struggle ANTIDOTE

“A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself.”
Gary Zukav & Linda Francis

ASK Yourself….

  • Why do I NEED to be right?
  • Would I rather be RIGHT OR HAPPY?
  • Is STICKING to my position that important?
  • If this was my BEST FRIEND how would I behave?
  • Is there room to LIGHTEN UP and relax about this?
  • What would it be like if I chose to BE THE GENEROUS ONE?

 Remember this mantra: What divides US, weakens US.   Whenever a problem or issue arises, stop and ask yourself… “How would love respond?”

 




2 Responses to These Negative Communication Patterns are all Signs that You are Stuck in a Power Struggle-Dr. Sheri Meyers

  1. Theresa says:

    In a relationship I understand it’s we not I. When I first met my husband and know he was the one. I heard bells and spoke to my Grandfather about it and he said to me, that a relationship is 100%, not 50/50. Now facing 25 yrs. being married to the same person and all we have been threw. I realize that I have lived up to this belief, but my husband hasn’t. We have always struggled in our relationship with about everything. In our relationship I am the adult and he has always been a child. If it’s not his way, then he doesn’t what to deal with it. He had to be first and things have to revolve around him.

    Raising two children and he being gone most of the time because he is a truck driver. He expected that when he came home our lives had to stop. His lack of involvement in our daughter’s life has bulit a strained relationship between them. They barely speak or communicate in any form with each other. Now, I’m seeing it with our 16 yr old son, even thou my husband is spending more time with him then he did with his daughter. Our son is having a power struggle with him, because of the way he acts and behaves. How can I teach our son that he has to be responsible for his actions and he sees that his father is not responsible for his. That Dad always gets his way and we have to suffer for it. It is hard be a peace maker and I do feel that a storm is fixing to break.

  2. Cindy says:

    Thanks for this article. It really clarifies some issues I’ve had in past relationships.

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What is YOUR Body Language Really Communicating?

 55 Seconds to Better Body Language

…From Dr. Sheri’s Love Prescriptions for Partners

Love-In-Action: Attuned Listening

 

“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker.
When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging,
intensely interested listening,
our spirits expand.”
~Sue Patton Thoele

Listening is not just about hearing what your partner is saying.

When you truly LISTEN it lets your partner know that you are taking them in and that they are being heard, known, accepted, and understood.

This IS literally love in action.

Wordlessly you communicate “I hear you.” “I get you.” “I receive you as you are.” “I love you.”

Having our words, feelings, and thoughts heard, taken in, and received feels like LOVE on the deepest level of our being.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

Generally speaking, when your lips are moving, you aren’t learning much.

Listening takes work.

Typically, when others are speaking, we are thinking, preparing our response, reacting, not listening.

Our minds tend to wander especially when listening to something uninteresting or uncomfortable.

We have trained ourselves to take in just enough to get by because usually that is all that’s required.

However, when it comes to relationship problems and issues of the heart, sloppy listening just doesn’t cut it. We need to employ a different type of listening.

Call it- Attuned Listening.

Attuned Listening- Attention, Presence, Validation.

Turn in. Tune in. Take it in.

The Attuned Listener’s Body Language

Body language signals show your partner whether or not you are tuned in, present, and listening.

Your eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice and body gestures, demonstrates your interest, attitude, and openness.

Staying mindful of your body and conscious of what its saying is essential to effective listening and communication.

Attuned Listening BIG DO’s

Maintain an open body posture, face your partner, uncross your arms and your heart.

Keep your eyes in contact.

Stay aware of your breathing.

Keep yourself open and receptive by remembering listening is LOVE

Effective Listening is about being open and receptive.

A relaxed body allows for an open mind.

When listening, sit and face your partner maintaining an open body posture.

Keep your eyes in contact and stay aware of your breathing.

Facial expressions tend to convey what we are feeling at the moment.

Be mindful of what your face is saying.

Be prepared to counter expressions of indifference or disagreement by reminding yourself that your job is to listen and support, not to judge or advise.

And don’t forget to watch your breathing! When we are agitated, our breathing becomes quick and shallow.

When you notice this happening, take long deep breaths.

This focuses the mind and relaxes the body allowing you to return to a receptive (instead of reactive) state.

A good first step is to keep in mind that the minute your partner starts saying something you don’t want to hear, your shoulders will tense and your instinct will likely be to leave or end the conversation.

Breathe and say,
“I’m staying here.
I love my partner.
I’m going to take deep breaths and listen.”

Repeat as needed.

We all need to be listened to and understood. Most of us grew up without enough focused attention. This is one of the kindest, most loving things you can do for and with your partner.



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successful-communication

…from Dr. Sheri’s Prescriptions for Partners-
Blueprint for Successful Conversations
The message sent IS the message being received!

“The single biggest problem in communication
is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~George Bernard Shaw

We spend far more time communicating with each other than we do having sex. Communication is the process of exchanging information with one another. Everything we do and say, as well as, what we don’t do nor say, transmits information. What and how we communicate is the way we know and are known by each other. Few experiences are more gratifying than expressing yourself, saying something that is deep and personal and having it heard, received, and understood by your partner. Learning the necessary skills for effective communication is the basic foundation of true intimacy and vital to a healthy relationship.

What is effective communication in a relationship?

It’s very simple. Your message sent is the message received.

What you say to your partner is actually heard by your partner.

Is the message you’re sending being received?

Take this Quick Communication Quiz to find out.

When I express myself, I know I am heard.

I feel comfortable sharing with my partner.

When issues arise, we face them as a team.

We both actively seek to understand each other.

We are open to each other’s thoughts and feelings.

-If you answered no to any of these questions, you and your partner can communicate more effectively.

Get Heard! Easy Communication Tips

“Behind the need to communicate is the need to share.

Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.”

Leo Rosten

A common question that I’m frequently asked: “How can I get my partner to listen to me?” My simple answer often is: it’s all in your delivery and your presentation. It’s not ONLY what you say, it’s also how you say it. HOW you express your needs, desires, and requests for change can mean the difference between finding resolution or starting a fight. Here are some quick tips for how to have your say and have what you say, heard.

Dr.Sheri’s 4 Tips for Peaceful, Cooperative, Skillful Conversing

“I”-Speak: Use I statements such as “I need, I feel, I want, I desire.” Avoid blame filled “You’s” such as “You need to… Your problem is… You’re just…” The key is to make your partner aware, not wrong. “This issue is important to me. I would like to talk to you about it. I promise not to yell or get upset.” Practice using “I” statements and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your dialogue.

Tone: If you’re talking calmly and lovingly, you have a far better chance of keeping your partner’s attention on what you are saying. When someone starts talking really loudly or aggressively, the receiver instinctively goes on the defensive and puts protective walls up. You can’t expect anyone to listen fully when they feel they are being laid into.

When you hold an attitude of cooperation vs. competition, ‘we’re in this together’ ‘we’re a team’ your tone automatically becomes kinder, gentler, and calmer.

Ask for Feedback/Invite Discussion: One surefire way of knowing you are being heard is asking for feedback. What do you think of this? Do you understand where I’m coming from? Feedback also allows you to reaffirm (or resend) any important messages that may have been overlooked or missed.

Each Partner has a Turn saying their say and being heard, feeling openly received without interruption.

Here’s a simple exercise that will help you improve your ability to stay focused, say what you mean, and get what you feel and want expressed in a constructive and caring way. It eliminates the blame filled, character assassination that usually pushes the other away and gets us into trouble.

Remember to use I language.

State your positive intention (i.e. I feel like this issue is coming between us and getting in the way. I hope that by sharing this information with you that we can work together in resolving it. I want to feel closer to you again.

Describe the situation and the behavior that upsets you: Be as specific and objective as possible. “When you come home, walk right past me, and go to our room to without speaking, saying hello or giving me a kiss…” This specifically describes the behavior which is bothering you vs. “when you come home and ignore me” which would usually create an immediate defensive reaction.

Express your feelings and thoughts: (I feel…) (I think, believe, expect…)

Most feelings we experience are a combination of the following: anger, sadness, guilt, happiness, excitement, tenderness. It is important to own your feelings and acknowledge the fact that your partner did not make you feel a certain way.

I feel ___________________ because I think/believe/expect _______________

(e.g. I feel hurt because I think you don’t love me anymore).

Our thoughts about a situation are what creates and stimulates the feelings we are having. In other words, our feelings are a direct result of how we see and interpret the meaning of our partner’s behavior. (e.g. When our partner doesn’t greet us at the door when we come home, the reality might be he or she is busy, but our thoughts and expectations may say that their action is unloving, and then our feelings and responses are off and running!) When you can make the association between what you think and what you feel, everything begins to change for the better.

Specify your wants and what you’d like to change (I would like…) (Are you willing?)

Ask very specifically for an observable change. (e.g. When you come home I’d like it if, before going upstairs, you’d come and find me, give me a hug, and say hi. Are you willing to do that?)

Successful conversations do not necessarily mean getting your way. It means that you have expressed your thoughts, feelings, and/or concerns in a way that is heard and understood. It also means consciously listening and seeking to understand what is being said to you. This kind of communicating can take a little practice but you’ll find the results are well worth it!



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