Apr 012014 13 Responses

Two Steps to Solving 90% of Relationship Problems

Nearly every relationship problem is a communication problem.

In the simplest of forms, most marriages struggle with three issues: sex, money, and communication. But most of the time, struggles with sex and money are present because a couple cannot communicate about the issue.

Warning: If there is an aspect of sex which you cannot discuss with your spouse—that is a problem.

Warning: If you and your spouse can’t have a rational discussion about income or expenses—there is a problem.

Most problems are communication problems because most problems can be solved if we can find a way to communicate about them.

This article is an excerpt of Friends, Partners, and Lovers.

Thankfully, there is a solution. A simple solution.

Most relationship problems can be solved by taking two steps:

1. Ask Humbly. It requires courage and trust. For many people it is an action which goes against their normal way of approaching things. Many people have backgrounds where nothing is asked directly. Issues are hinted about or implied. Passive aggressiveness is the norm. Some will even say, “If they really loved me, I shouldn’t have to ask.”

But instead of living in the world which “should be” a couple should live in the world that is. Reality says that we never know everything we should, and each of us needs help in understanding what the other is thinking. (See: It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind)

The secret is to ask. Without pretense or anger, simply state whatever issues are at hand.

Yet we must ask humbly. We must ask about an issue without demanding a specific answer. We must ask to understand how a person feels about the issue. We must ask to get their perspective.

The presence of humility is expressed:

  • in tone. Humility is never harsh. It’s never cutting. It has a softness and openness about it.
  • in content. Humility never assumes to know everything, but seeks understanding.
  • in attitude. Humility is the antidote to contempt.

When we ask humbly, we are honoring the other person and recognizing their contribution to the relationship. It provides an opportunity for a solution and seeks help for something we are struggling with. (See: Use Hard Words Not Harsh Words)

2. Answer Honestly. This too, requires courage and trust. Far too many people have been conditioned to never fully answer a question. We give partial answers, pretend nothing is wrong or withhold our true feelings.

When we fail to answer honestly, we are hiding. We are failing to disclose our true selves either out of a fear of rejection or because we do not believe the other person deserves to know us completely.

We owe it to ourselves and others to answer questions honestly. (See: The Method of Marriage)

This requires that we:

  • share our true feelings. We can’t hide them or deny them. We must recognize what we are feeling and share it.
  • communicate our ideas. Without apology or hesitation, we can share what we believe to be right.

When we answer honestly, we honor the other person by showing them our true selves. It reveals that we are fully engaged in the relationship and are willing to do whatever it takes to solve an issue.

Most problems within relationships are communication problems. Yet by following these two steps, we can solve a majority of the issues which are causing friction.

For more, see:

Top 10 Communication Posts Your Co-Workers Should Read

The Number One Cause of Divorce

 

13 Responses to Two Steps to Solving 90% of Relationship Problems
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  9. […] Many issues cannot be resolved because there is neither right or wrong. A couple experiences tensio... kevinathompson.com/in-marriage-some-things-never-change
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