Unrealistic expectations, lack of commitment, insurmountable financial debt, and abuse are only a few issues that millions of couples encounter during the course of their relationship. These common yet devastating issues are all symptoms that mask the real cause of why relationships fail. Couples often wonder; what is the secret to maintaining a successful relationship. The secret to building and sustaining a harmonious loving relationship is the most effective; yet underused, undervalued, and ignored secret in the relationship world. That secret is C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N. Knowing how and when to communicate is critical to the success of any relationship.
Every couple needs to learn how to create a safe environment in which loving, respectful, honest, open, and fierce conversations can be had. These types of conversations are called Safety Zone conversations. What are Safety Zone conversations you ask? They are conversations that couples have at a designated time in a designated place in which they can be open and honest in a loving and respectful way that allows them to reach a plausible solution, compromise, or simply agree to disagree. I have listed the five steps to having Safety Zone conversations below.
First: Determine what you want to discuss
Determining what you want to discuss helps you to maintain focus and stay on topic. Conversations are complex in that they have many moving parts. Emotions, varying points of view, personal beliefs and values are all things that can quickly derail a conversation. Knowing exactly what you want to discuss will allow you to redirect the conversation back to its intended purpose.
Second: Determine whether or not your topic is worthy of having a conversation
This is very important because you want to ensure that what you want or feel you need to discuss is truly worthy of having a Safety Zone conversation. Knowing your mates level of patience is beneficial here, as it will allow you to employ your best judgment in determining if the conversation topic is worthy of setting aside time to have a planned discussion. You don’t want to make your mate weary of the words “we need to talk.” Warning…making every conversation a big production will do just that.
Third: Ask your mate when is it an appropriate time to have the conversation
Allowing your mate to designate a date and time that works for them will give your mate an opportunity to prepare for and be fully present during the conversation. Attempting to have a productive conversation when your mate is fully engaged in the football game, helping the kids with homework, or is simply distracted will ensure that the matter won’t get resolved along with possibly elevating tempers. Agreeing to a designated time will give you time to prepare mentally and emotionally for the conversation as well. Designate a time and stick to it. However, if a conflict should arise, make sure to reschedule immediately preferable for a timeframe within the next 24 hours.
Fourth: Designate a place
It is important to identify a place that is free of distractions (radio, television, cell phones, laptops, and children). It should be a neutral place in which you both feel comfortable. The place should also allow you to be able to support one another through touch while talking. The family room sofa or the kitchen table are great spaces to have a Safety Zone conversation. The bedroom is off limits for a Safety Zone conversations. You don’t want sleep or sex to be barriers to having a productive conversation. Additionally if it does not end agreeably you don’t want to be in a negative space filled with negative energy and then attempt to retire for the night.
Fifth: Prepare yourself for conversation
It is important for you to identify a safe mental and emotional space prior to having a Safety Zone conversation. You want to ensure that you come to the table free of negative energy with a willingness to really listen to your mate. Doing this will ensure that you remain within the context and confines of the conversation.
These five steps are the basic elements needed to have a Safety Zone conversation.
BMWK Couples, are you ready to learn how to communicate effectively to help improve the quality of your relationship?