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Communication Advice Article

Marriage Advice for Using Body Talk to Communicate and Connect

By Susie and Otto Collins

Remember when you were a kid and all it took was one look from your mom, your dad, or even your teacher to know you were in trouble-big time. 

Often this message came in the form of folded arms, a set jaw, and lowered (glowering) eyes. 

Oh boy, when your parent or teacher struck this pose and gave you this look, you knew you'd done something he or she didn't like! 

Today with your partner you might even adopt such a pose and piercing gaze when you are unhappy with him or her. 

It's a body talk that communicates in no uncertain terms that your partner has something to make amends for.

Is this the only way we use our bodies to talk? Of course not. When we want love and closeness, we also send messages with our bodies- reaching for your love's hand or a passionate glint in your eye.

And when reading the body talk of those we love, is it always accurate? Sometimes the messages you send with your body let the other person know what you are feeling, but other times it can be confusing and misleading. 

For example, is your mate really angry with you or is he or she just chilly and wanting a jacket?

Our point here is not that body talk is good or bad or that you should or shouldn't use it to communicate your love.  As you've probably experienced, you often send messages with your body whether or not you intend to. 

Instead, we encourage you to become more aware of the messages you might be sending with your body and to get curious about what you think you are reading in another's body. 

Ali was sure she did something really awful to make her husband, Pete, mad.  From the moment he came home, Pete seemed to Ali to be quiet and distant. 

She noticed that he even kept his back turned to her as she asked about his day (for the second time). 

He wasn't normally like this and Ali felt fearful that his body talk meant there was something bothering him that she was  responsible for. 

As she asked if she'd done something to upset him, Pete seemed to withdraw even further.  Ali feels helpless and confused.

As you can see with Ali and Pete, body talk can indicate when your mate is closing or opening to you. 

However, if you misinterpret body talk and jump to conclusions about what you think is being communicated, chances are your love will close down to you even more than before.

Keep in touch with your own body talk.

You can only know best what you are feeling in your own skin and therefore communicating with your own body.  When trying to understand what your love is communicating, it's advisable to start by tuning in to how you are feeling. 

If Ali was more in touch with her own feelings leading up to the scenario above, she'd realize a sense of vulnerability and insecurity.  Knowing that about her own emotional state, might clue Ali in that what she thinks Pete's body is talking may be more about her own feelings than his.

You can keep in touch with your own body talk and feelings in many ways.

You might take 10 minutes a day to just sit quietly and meditate or clear your mind.  A less cluttered mind allows you better access to feelings you may not have been aware of.

Breathing can also help.  While driving, whenever you are stopped by a red light or a stop sign, take that moment to take a deep belly breath.

Again, this clears the mind and brings you back to the present and feelings you are having.

Get curious about what you think your partner's body is communicating.

We can't stress this one enough! If you are sure your partner's body talk is telling you something, get curious about it first.  After tuning in to how you are feeling, ask your partner if your perceptions are accurate. 

It backfired when Ali repeatedly questioned Pete about why he was angry with her.  In fact, Pete had received a disturbing phone call from a friend that he wasn't ready to talk about yet.

If Ali had become curious (rather than jumping to a conclusion that it was all about her), Pete may have been able to let her know her perceptions were not accurate and that he would share with her about it later.

Trying to interpret your partner's body talk can be filled with about as many traps and tricks as a fun house-though it isn't always very fun! 

Be clear about what you are feeling and remind yourself that your partner's body talk may not be what you think it is and that it may not be about you. 

As you get curious about what's going on, you may find that you are both better able to stay open and connected.   

For more communication tips to help you create great relationships, visit



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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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