The problem that lies
I asked my husband last week if he wants me to visit his female friend’s sister’s wedding. “Do you want me to come?”
“It’s your choice,” he replied. “Does that mean you don’t want me to come? Do you have a reason for not wanting me to come?” He looked at me like a lost puppy and replied, “When did I say that? You always do what you like to do!”
“Are you calling me selfish? You think I don’t like doing things for you?” and so on… Does that sound familiar to you if you are in an intimate relationship? Where one partner says oranges and the other hears apples and many a times this miscommunication leads to huge fights with no resolution.
Proposing a solution
Do you want to turn around this miscommunication into a healthy communication and improve interpersonal dynamics? Well I decided to be assertive and now when I say apples my husband hears apples too and at times if lady luck is not on his side and he hears oranges I make sure I spell it out for him. A-p-p-l-e-s and VIOLA! We are the happiest kids on the block. Point being, ask for what you want and stop assuming!
More significantly stop being passive or aggressive in relationships and simply become assertive. Being passive means constantly adopting a people-pleasing attitude and acting ‘satti-saavatri’, a sacrificial lamb that thinks he or she is going to get a lifetime achievement award for it. That’s not going to happen. You are simply communicating to your partner that you are not an equal and your rights as an individual do not count. And thus you allow him to feel, think and want things for you. What will happen? After a while this unnatural passiveness will result in aggressiveness as you are trying to swim against the tide.
You now become aggressive and either assume a passive aggressive attitude or out rightly express your resentment for being the sacrificial lamb for so long. Now you become inconsiderate of what the other person thinks and feels and project your own unexpressed feelings onto them. The result is the same. Communication simply fails!
An optimistic approach of the situation may help?
Be assertive! It starts by making ‘I’ statements where you express what you think and feel but still acknowledge what the other person is saying. Like my husband wanted to take some time off next week and I replied, “I understand that you want a brief vacation next week but I would prefer to take a longer break in summers.” A direct, honest and appropriate way that respects his viewpoint and yet articulates what I want!
It works! In our relationship my husband simply wanted to be heard and with my assertiveness he feels heard and I am able to do what I want too! So try standing up for yourself and give regard to the other person at the same time so that you can turn that miscommunication into healthy communication.
Story first published: 10th April 2018