I’ve learned a lot about relationships. Not only from my own, but even more by listening to people around me. Also for 10 years now, I have heard the relationship issues between truckers and wives because of a trucking website that I’ve ran for 10 years.
There are common issues and principles that I see over and over which tears down relationships no matter if you see each other day to day or are separated by thousands of miles for weeks at a time. I will list some of them and discuss them afterwards…
- Lack of communication skills
- Negative thinking
- Lack of trust
- Waiting for things to change on their own
- Complaining about everything
Lack of Communication
I mean several different things when it comes to lack of communication. First thing that I want to say thought is this. Watch your communication style. Talking calmly is important. Not whining, complaining or blaming for what the issue is. Communication means listening to understand from the other person’s perspective before talking. Not thinking while your significant other is talking trying to think about how you will prove your position is right.
Then when you speak, explain why your position is what it is. Not that it is right. You will have to be adults about how to go forward based why each of you are looking at things the way that you do. This of course, sounds easier than it might be depending on the why’s and the issues you are discussing.
Also I am talking about how each person might not say what is on their minds to the other. Waiting for things to change. Usually it’s wishful thinking. And the hope are that the unappreciated behavior is an isolated incident. Unfortunately, if you never let the person know that the behavior is rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate…etc…it’s very possible that the behavior could become a reoccurring experience.
Example: He or she doesn’t help do something in the house or with the kid, which you expect help with. Address it or it becomes a habit. He comes home after weeks on the road and only sits around drinking beer. Ask him if every is OK and the second day, tell him that he needs to shape up!
Another aspect of communication I am talking about is assuming that an action or behavior means something based on your own past experience. You have to realize that you both have different personalities, pasts and experiences. You interpret and convey your messages differently. What you are taking from the actions or behavior may not be the intended message. If it doesn’t seem right, best thing to do is talk about it to find out for sure what is going on.
Example: He or she doesn’t say, “I love you”, as much as you want. Or it decreases for no apparent reason. You might take that as lack of lack. Or back to helping around the house or with kids. You might feel that the person not taking initiative means something. Like, not caring. That may not be true. I could just be the person doesn’t think that way. It could come from how things were done in the last relationship, or how he/she was raised or experienced. That is a lot different from not caring or having love for you. Or if there was a shift in his/her behavior it could mean new stress that you are not aware of. So talk about it, don’t assume the worse about it.
Now you might say, that person should say something to you about it. I agree, but you are reading this and he/she is not. When interacting with people often we have to take up the slack to make things move forward, especially if we realize a better way to deal with it and the other person doesn’t. Unfortunately, the person who is aware of the need has the responsibility to take action.
Now when these things are misinterpreted and not discussed then it starts a seed of discontent and unhappiness if not addressed. So talk about it.
Those are some things I would like you to consider in communication. That will help you a lot.
Realize this, as time goes on and you learn more about each other, especially as you improve talking to each other, issues caused by communication will become less and less.
Those things said, you and your spouse shouldn’t get caught up in simply saying, that is not me. Once you realize what the other person internalizes as the expression of love, caring, being a relationship….give it! Love is a verb. Not knowing what makes your significant other is one thing, knowing and not expressing that IS indeed withholding your love.
I suggest some books and resources at the end that would benefit the relationship if both of you read them. If you are the only one who reads it, it will still help because you will understand the other person better and therefor know how to get more of what you want out of the relationships.
That means always thinking the person’s words, behavior, actions means the worse thing. He didn’t get home at the normal time. Does that mean he is cheating? That is pretty simple to recognize. It’s not the only way that negative thinking can affect the relationship.
Supposed, everything she/he says you have something condescending or belittling to say about it. How would you like it done to you? Supposed everything that she does, instead of supporting her in it, you show little faith or point out why she/he might fail.
You wouldn’t believe how often I have heard this occur first hand. It’s a very corrosive attitude to have. Think about your words and make sure you are supportive of your spouse. Not only that, don’t say things that eat at the relationship for instance…
- “I don’t think this is going to work”
- “We need to get divorced”
- “I see why your ex left you”
- “I see why you are divorced x many times”
You get the idea….Basically, if it would bother you, then it likely doesn’t feel good to the other person. A good thing to do is think about if your intention for saying it to hurt the other person at the time. I have know people to say stuff in that manner just out of lack of control of their emotions. Might feel like jabbing the other person with words at the time, then wish it could be taken back later. Obviously that is behavior that need to be corrected.
Lack of Trust
This is self explanatory. If you feel this way about your significant other it is bad enough. To always make statements or accuse her/him based on that lack of trust will create a divide between you. It’s no way to live. Furthermore, it is important to recognize why you might feel that way. If he/she has cheated that’s one thing. Of course he/she will have to earn the trust again in that case.
However, if your feelings are stemming from your past experiences with a prior relationships. It is not fair to your current partner to deal with that. He may chose to, but it is not fair for him to have to. However, it is smart for you to communicate your struggles dealing with it and ask him/her to be patient as long as you are intentionally working on being more mindful and improving it. He can at least not take it personally and have hope in things getting better. Otherwise, without knowing what is behind that distrust, he may either think you are up to something or that you are wacko and decide to leave. Again communication comes into play.
Waiting for things to change
This is self explanatory as well. Don’t wait for things that you dislike to change. On the other hand. Don’t expect for everything to be the way YOU think it should be. Don’t think that YOUR WAY is the right way all of the time. Be open minded enough to step back and look at the big picture. What makes doing something a certain way better than doing it another way.
Often we think our way of looking at something or doing something is the way it should be done simply because that is the way we are used to. Well, the other person feels the same way. It’s your perspective not the rule. How did you come to that opinion about it?
Example: One family may wash the beans and soak them before cooking. Another family may only wash them. Would you believe that there are people who argue about what is the right way to do it?
That brings me to another point.
Complaining About Everything
You have to choose your battles.
You can’t nit pick at every little thing that comes up when it isn’t done the way you think it should be done. In some cases, the person might be open to doing something differently if you bring it up with the right tone and words. They say it is not what you say but how you say it. In other instance, a person might feel strongly about doing things a certain way.
I once had a room mate who pile the dishes up in the sink. I never let dishes pile up in the sink. I started off telling her that it was ridiculous to do so and it was easier to wash each pot, dish, utensil right after using it. Several times a week, I would let it irritate me and she learned to pile it up better. Lol. Finally I realized that I was looking at it from my perspective. Her way may not make sense to me, but if she was modeled that in her home growing up or simply didn’t think about it my way, it didn’t make her way wrong. It might have not been ideal, but it wasn’t against law or causing a catastrophe in the home. I stopped nagging about it, it didn’t stop but it got a lot better.
A common issue and probably better example for couples…you might have read or heard about this one which falls under this category of choosing your battles is squeezing the toothpaste from the end of the tube verses in the middle. Think about that. It could be very irritating to find the toothpaste done differently that you do it each morning. But really, are you going to let THAT cause a problem everyday? That would be more ridiculous that somebody not squeezing the toothpaste the way you want it squeezed.
So if you made it this far, you are definitely seriously about a healthy relationship. That I believe is awesome. One more thing I want to say. Remember your words have a lot of power. Be mindful of how you communicate with your partner. Make sure you are not being abusive and condescending. You should be positive and supportive. Even if you have constructive criticism.
Also, I would say to do this if you are already in a relationship. Think about ways that you can improve the relationship with your significant other and people in general.
Write down things that you need to improve upon in the relationships. You can control you and often that will have a positive impact on how he/she treats you and the relationship. Make it a goal to work on those specific issues regularly. Set a target date for reaching the goal.
Tools, Resources and Ideas
Some of the links are resources in which Life Design Academy will be compensated. However, we will only link to resources that we feel are beneficial to you. This is our way of paying for expenses of growing Life Design Academy Project.
Get an accountability partner
Books that I think would benefit you: 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, The Caring and Feeding of Marriages by Dr. Laura Schlesinger.