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Communication Advice Article

What to do When There's a Communication Stalemate in Your Marriage

By Susie and Otto Collins

What point of view do you take when communicating with your partner?

If you're talking about a movie you both enjoyed, your perspective on the conversation is probably quite positive and even joyful.  It's fun to connect in this way. 

However, when you two are hashing it out over a tricky topic, you are probably not viewing the situation as joyful, fun or very positively. 

Especially at those times when the connection is strained between you and your love, it can be difficult to look at things from a different perspective.

But when you're stuck in a communication stalemate, changing your point of view may just be the key to the opening and connecting you want-- resolutions tend to come easier as well!

Have you ever looked at one of those optical illusion drawings? One we viewed recently was an image of what appeared to be the side-view of an older woman wearing a bonnet with a wart on her nose. 

But wait! When we looked again, the drawing seemed to now be the back view of young woman also wearing a bonnet but with long hair and wearing a necklace.

Pretty cool! How could the same drawing show two very different images?

What does this have to do with you and your partner's communication habits?

Everything actually.  If you can shift your point of view of the way you look at the same drawing and see a completely different picture, you can do the same thing with your relationship and just about any argument you two may be having. 

It requires your willingness to soften your "side" and allow yourself to see more than what you did before.

Move beyond win-lose.

This may take some practice. We live in a world where competition seems to be everywhere.

Just turn on the tv and you might see cooking, singing, winning a husband and even giving away money to charities all turned into competitions where the winners win big and the losers walk away in shame.

This might be enjoyable to some to watch and even participate in, but don't take competition into your communication! 

Whenever you sit down to talk with your partner-- no matter what it's about-- re-think your view of the exchange. 

Coming to a conversation about a tricky topic without an assumption that one of you will win and the other will lose can mean the difference between your usual argument and an easier resolution.

Even if the final decision isn't what you'd originally planned, letting go of the win-lose dichotomy gives you space to feel good about the resolution.

Try shifting your perspective about communication in a general way and when you're not feeling intense about a particular situation. 

In your mind, see yourself and your partner both coming away feeling heard and respected and with a sense of well-being.

See the situation from the "other side."

As you start to look differently at communication dynamics you can begin to let go of there having to be a winner or a loser.

You can now look at the situation from a different perspective and amazingly see many possibilities where before there was only one (or just a few). 

In fact, you may better be able to see the value in the "other side"-- what your partner's perspective is on the matter. 

Before you might not have wanted to even consider what he or she has to say out of fear that your "side" won’t be considered.  With a shift in perspective, however, you may even notice the similarities in what you both want.

The points of overlap in your "sides" are visible now.

You can experience an a-ha in your relationship just as the optical illusion drawings demonstrate that there is almost always so much more than what you initially see. 

And when you are able to see possibilities, you are more open to communicating in ways that bring you closer to the one you love.

For information to help you communicate for deeper connection and love--especially when it's difficult, 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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