Common Communication Issues Couples tend to need improvement in the following assessment areas:
- Not believing everything their partner says.
- Making comments that belittle or degrade each other.
- Having difficulty conveying needs and desires with each other.
- Having difficulty sharing negative feelings with each other.
- Not listening to each other well.
- Getting defensive every time someone disagrees with them.
- Being more interested in proving who is to blame rather than looking for solutions.
There are four major communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. While the assertive style is usually the most effective of the four, many couples do not use this style as often as they could, resulting in interactions that are frustrating and unsatisfying.
The goal of the Assertive Style is having relationships that don’t deny others or us. It is not a strategy for getting our own way. Being assertive puts you on equal footing with others. Assertive communication enables people to express themselves in a healthy, non-defensive, and non-insistent manner. It involves asking clearly and directly for what one wants and being positive and respectful in one’s communication. Assertive individuals take responsibility for their messages by using “I” statements. They avoid statements beginning with “You.” When one partner speaks assertively, it encourages the other person to also respond positively and assertively. When a person is heard and understood, it increases intimacy.