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It has always made sense to me that men and women must communicate in order to have a lasting, successful, healthy relationship.

It is true that we need to connect with the one with whom we have decided to share our time. But is there a particular method that is most effective when we are attempting to do this?

Many people believe that a good-old, verbal conversation is the ticket. This person’s communication style is to “talk this thing out.”

There are others who believe the actions they take are enough to get their points across. They’ve bought you gifts, repaired your plumbing and washed your car, prepared your favorite meal, or have taken your clothes to the cleaners.

And then there are some who believe silence is golden. This person spends a lot of time inside themselves, not sharing with you. They don’t have the interest or, perhaps the words to talk about “it.”

We all have our way of communicating what we need to convey, but is that way effective?

The methods we use to communicate become effective when we understand the one with whom we are speaking. What I mean by this is, it's important to know the communication style of the other person (what they perceive through the words we use, our tones of voice, and our facial expressions). However, when we are engaged in conversation, especially when emotions dominate, many times we become self-absorbed, never really considering the person listening to us.

Under the misconception that everyone receives messages the way we do, the art of effective communication becomes lost. If we insist on exchanging thoughts and feelings in the way only we can comprehend, the point has been misplaced. We are in danger of not being understood when we fail to take into account, our partner’s communication methods.

Have you ever experienced someone speaking to you and you were not listening? You simply nodded your head? You’d blocked out what was being said because their language wasn’t aligned with yours. The intended message being conveyed meant nothing to you because it did not resonate with you.

In "The Five Love Languages," by Gary D. Chatman, we learn the ways to communicate our love, is by learning what makes our partner feel loved. Chatman discusses how words of affirmation make some people feel loved, while for another person, spending quality time gives them the feeling they are loved. Both women and men enjoy receiving gifts – if that is their love language. And lastly, acts of service and physical touch are what some desire to feel they are loved by that special someone.

Usually the way we speak and share is what makes us comfortable, yet it’s not always what makes our partner feel at ease. If we are in sync with someone and understand who they are, we have a better possibility of understanding them and being understood by them.

These three tips may help you to successfully communicate with your mate:

1. Remember, we all have unique life experiences, which affects the way we interpret what has been said.

2. Everyone has their own communication style. Learning your partner’s will be worth it.

3. Always come from a place of kindness.

Dr. Wielenga works as a Life, Relationship and Wellness Coach. Her practice is in Long Beach.

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