He Said, She Said

     The battle of the sexes is one that has raged for centuries. Wars have been won and lost, books have been written, published and sold millions of copies, and marriages have been celebrated and mourned.
    Men and women don't always understand each other and sometimes seem to be speaking different languages (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus), however the old adage of communication being key still rings true.
    Communication between partners has become reduced to the number of characters you can fit into a text message or tweet, gone are the days of love sonnets and Shakespearean quotations.  Call me old fashioned but I prefer the full version of "I love you" to the text version - ILY.

 


   As a naturopathic doctor, we often counsel partners through miscommunication issues, whether together or individually. Sometimes a lack of communication occurs because work schedules do not coincide or kids, soccer practice, time with friends and other commitments leave little time for the relationship. Miscommunication can also occur if we misinterpret body language, don't say what we truly mean, are too subtle, or our actions contradict our words.  Check out this post - 5 tips when communicating with men

Communication tips:
- talk authentically and truthfully
- actively listen to your partner
- make eye contact
- say what you mean
- make sure your partner understands
- speak with love and compassion
- follow through with what you say you will do
-  everyone is entitled to an opinion, its neither wrong nor right, it just is
- don't keep score

If the problem lies with the fact that you seem to be on opposite schedules, there are small and easy ways to increase togetherness:
1. Date night - schedule a specific night each week that is dedicated to the two of you. Whether doing something you both love or going on a new adventure
2. Leaving notes for each other - uh No not "do the dishes" or "pick up the kids", more like "thanks for cleaning up last night, you're amazing" or "can't wait to see you"
3.  Making a list of your favourite things to do with your partner and implementing one item per week.
4. Focussing on the little qualities that you LOVE about your partner and reminding them often
5. Listening to your partner when they speak. Busy lives can mean half hearted conversations but this can quickly lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings, so practice your active listening skills as often as you can.
6. Laughter is the best medicine....share some laughs, inside jokes, keep conversations light and fun even when broaching into tough topic territory. 

Tough and tender topics tend to get pushed under the rug and buried deep inside, this, however, is a recipe for disaster. Issues that aren't dealt with right away (even though it may be uncomfortable) become larger and scarier the longer they are buried. Not only can tough issues fester in your mind but that added stress can also lead to physical ailments - panic attacks, stomach ulcers, headaches, chronic pain, or digestive problems.
I have many patients that come to me describing such symptoms and when we trace it back to the onset, we find an emotional root cause.

Keep in mind that relationships only work when BOTH people are willing to put in the effort. Communication is a two way street and even if you feel like you are communicating enough for both people, it still won't work. When all else fails, seek out an impartial third party who can help counsel through the serious problems and provide mediation when things get difficult.