Portland Oregon Marriage Counselor says Think Before you Speak

October 11, 2010 by

This Portland Oregon marriage counselor knows that words can evoke strong feelings. How words are used, what ones are used and the spirit in which they are delivered always invites a reaction. When the reaction we have is pleasant the communication deepens the partnership bond, however, when we perceive that the words are barbed or laced with hostility, a rupture occurs in the trust and the safety felt within a relationship. Common sense relationship advice would warm partners to think before you speak.

Often a partner who is speaking negatively is attempting to get their needs met. As a Portland Oregon marriage counselor I see many of these misguided attempts. Couples use healthy and unhealthy communication in order to persuade, to be right, to control an uncomfortable situation, to gain connection or to defray criticism.  However, when one partner attempts to control the other with verbal barbs, threats, insults, blame, shame or criticism, the attempt will provoke rather than persuade.  Expressions such as “why didn’t you” and “You always” can even the most loving partner on the defensive.

Many times a partner will not even be aware that they are provoking an argument.  They are just resorting to habitual interactions with their mate.  But there are no interactions that are truly benign.  Our interactions with our partners either deepen the bond and the trust, or they create or increase a rupture.

Take these relationship tips from a Portland Oregon Marriage Counselor and be aware of these words and behaviors:

  • Always and never statements
  • Complaining, whining, demanding and criticizing
  • Name calling and negatively labeling your partner
  • Showing contempt through rolling your eyes, sighing, mocking or ignoring
  • Embarrassing in front of others
  • Projecting your own self-criticisms onto your partner
  • Blaming and needing to be right, or needing not to be wrong
  • Interrupting
  • Raising your voice to make a point, or to intimidate
  • Talking with a sharp tone, staring your partner down, snorting, and using threatening body language
  • Threatening abandonment
  • Starting a fight to avoid your own shortcomings

Whenever you can come from an honest and vulnerable position in your communication you may well avoid conflict and further rupture and deepen your intimacy. Think about these simple relationship tips:  to be close, be kind.  To be connected, be warm and open.  To understand, be curious.  To have successful communication, be respectful.  Take the relationship advice of this Portland Oregon marriage counselor and change fighting words to friendly words that invite true discussion and lasting intimacy. If you need help with your communication consider a marriage education workshop or couples counseling. Call us or visit our website for resources.