One of the most common complaints that we hear from new clients is that they have communication problems. It is very common in marriage to struggle with communicating. Part of the problem is that couples communicate the wrong message that they actually are trying to get across. Their intentions are usually good, but they send the wrong message. For example, a husband might say to his wife, “You don’t know how hard I work for this family!” What he is probably trying to communicate is that, “I feel hurt and unseen”, but what he is communicating to his wife in this instance is that he is angry and emotionally shoving her back. Most statements like his when he says, “You don’t’ know how hard I work for this family!” come from underlying emotions. These emotions are difficult to recognize in the first place and even more difficult to embrace by most people. What comes out is anger, instead. Anger usually is used here because the husband is feeling unsafe and hurt. He doesn’t want to get hurt more so he uses a technique that pushes his wife away and seemingly keeps him from getting more hurt. This isn’t what he thinks in the moment, he just acts it out on auto-pilot. Turning off auto-pilot is essential to making progress and approaching that problem differently. It takes courage, humility and a deliberate effort to say, “I feel hurt” versus “You don’t know how hard I work!”.
A trained marriage and family therapist will be able to help you and your spouse get to that emotionally safe and vulnerable space together. We’ve been doing it for years – let us help.