Improve Communication Challenges by Fixing Problems While They’re Still Small

Just about every love relationship has some little irritating tendencies that both people resolve to put up with.

It may be tensions over money or perhaps one person has a jealousy habit which strains the relationship. No matter what it is for you, it’s possible that you and your mate avoid the issue or ignore how you feel about it in an attempt to keep the peace.

Unfortunately, no matter how good you two are at avoiding, shoving aside your own feelings, or tuning out the voiced concerns of your partner, these “little” relationship problems are not just going to disappear. In fact, chances are pretty high that whatever is beginning to come between you and your love will only get more intense if you don’t address the issue.

The good news is that when you take care of relationship problems when they are relatively “small,” they are usually more manageable fixes which means you and your love can connect even more deeply than before.

Rebecca read in the paper this morning that over 35% of business travelers reported that they’d chose their Blackberry cell phones over their spouses. Reading this statistic brought a grimace of understanding to Rebecca’s face.

After all, her husband Alex– who travels frequently with his job– seems joined at the fingers and eyes to his Blackberry. Just the other day, he couldn’t seem to put it down as they had breakfast together. This felt so much more offensive to Rebecca as he just flew back into town from a week long conference late the night before.

Rebecca actually feels jealous of the Blackberry and sometimes fantasizes about throwing it in their pool. She also feels silly about being jealous of an inanimate object and would be embarrassed if Alex knew how she is feeling. After all, it’s not like he’s having an affair….

Be honest about how you are feeling.

In order to “fix ’em” while those irritating relationship problems are small, you need to be honest with yourself and your partner about how you are feeling.

Don’t let embarrassment stand in the way of you sharing that you feel disconnected from your mate. First of all, take some quiet time to be clear about how you feel about what’s going on. Try to get to the root of the problem you are experiencing to more fully understand your emotions.

After some contemplation, Rebecca realizes that she is feeling upset, lonely and even rejected not because of Alex’s Blackberry but because something is missing for her in their relationship.

She realizes that even if Alex didn’t have a Blackberry, there would still seem to be something standing in between the two of them. She can now re-focus her attention on her relationship with Alex rather than on Alex’s “relationship” with his Blackberry.

Use affirmative statements about what you want.

When we suggest that you address those seemingly “small” relationship problems now, we aren’t recommending that you make up a list of your gripes about your partner and then present it to him or her. Instead, share your perception of the relationship problem from a place of how you feel and what you want. Use affirmative statements as much as possible to convey the change or shift you’d like to work toward.

It might be tempting for Rebecca to report to Alex that she’d like him to break his Blackberry addiction and give her– and their relationship– some long overdue attention. You can probably guess that this type of an approach will probably put Alex on the defensive and lead to him close down to her.

In contrast, Rebecca chooses to ask Alex if they can talk without any distractions. She shares with him that she misses connecting with him and also asks if he’d help her come up with ideas for how they can keep their relationship more alive and healthy.

Appreciate steps taken toward what you want.

Rebecca is somewhat surprised when Alex sets aside his Blackberry (she was initially worried she’d have to pry it from his fingers!) and readily agrees to brainstorm– and follow through on– ideas that will help bring them closer together. They both are excited to try some of the ideas on their list which makes Rebecca feel encouraged and hopeful.

Even if your relationship problem persists, be sure to acknowledge and appreciate the steps that you and your partner are taking toward the desired changes. Even a seemingly small issue may take awhile to shift.

The more you can celebrate any movement in the direction you want to go, the more momentum you are adding. Notice your partner’s efforts and your own and keep communicating clearly and lovingly along the way.


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