According to Dr. Gannon, “Loving each other in the ways each partner wants to be loved” is the key to communicating effectively. She explains that some people need verbal reminders of their partners’ feelings, such as regular compliments or just simple “I love yous.” Others need more physical reminders — hugs and kisses show them how much their partners care. In any relationship, it’s important to identify what makes each partner feel loved and appreciated, and that they respond to each other’s needs.
However, for some couples, getting through communication issues may require more work. Rivkin says she looks at the issues surrounding a couple’s early arguments because even if the supposed cause is different, couples often have the same fight again and again. Her three-step First Argument Technique requires couples to “peel, reveal and heal” — to identify the deeper issues causing the argument as well as the hurt the argument causes you and share this information with your partner to help resolve the conflict and move forward.
Whatever you and your partner argue about, it’s important to remember that disagreements and fights happen in all relationships, but they don’t have to have devastating consequences. If you’re conscious of your needs and those of your partner, it will be much easier to avoid hurtful bickering and communicate effectively — and the experience may even bring the two of you closer together.
Tell us: What do you and your partner fight about?
Kathryn H. Cusimano is an assistant editor at BettyConfidential.