Welcome back for Part 2 of our series, learning the 6 Steps to Easy Communication…this week we’re talking about the 2nd step in our communication process!
Quick recap from last week: Step 1 was the cool off period. Cool off period is all about letting you (and your partner) control your emotions, figure out what’s going on and go to a place where you can have an honest conversation and not say things that you’re going to regret. You can check out the live stream here and blog post here.
These communication strategies are from our own experience and battles with our communication issues as a couple. For us, and for a lot of people, communication is not easy and it does not just come ‘naturally’. This is why we have paired up with mentors to create the tools we’re sharing with you in this series.
Step 2: Establish Some Knowns.
Establish knowns? What’s that mean? Knowns are what we treat as a ‘fact’ in our relationship. It’s a safe place in our relationship and represents what we are to each other, despite our differences and arguments. This is particularly useful when we are in a middle of argument with our spouse or a person that’s important to us.
A known is what will always hold true and never change regardless of the situation. It is reminding the other person that we care about them no matter what happens and that we love them. Because usually, if we are in an argument with another person, this known can be forgotten.
For example, when when Bryan and I are arguing, my go-to reaction is that it’s him versus me. Sound familiar? It’s a battle, and I feel the need to defend myself, I question what his intentions are and why he’s questioning me. And that line of thinking can be dangerous.
I’m sure a lot of us can relate to that feeling that we feel like we’re trying to prove ourselves to the other person and make them see we are right and they are against us.
To address this, right from the start, after taking a breather (step 1) we come together, and this is where we will establish the foundation, our knowns, before moving on. We remind ourselves that first and foremost, we love and care about each other and are in fact on the same team, then talk about the issue.
Reminding each other of an established known, helped us get back on the same page. It’s a reminder to ourselves too that we are not against each other but we are FOR each other despite the way we feel in the heat of the moment. It takes away the feeling of him being against me and allows me to lower my guard.
Even better, if you know what the other person’s core needs are, reassure them of that. Bryan reassures me of my feelings and never questions my validity and for him, I remind him that it’s not his fault, that he didn’t ruin things and no one thinks he is stupid.
If you’re looking for a peaceful and safe environment where communication and healthy conversation can happen, establishing your knowns are key.
Another piece of advice to all the couples out there, if you haven’t done so already, have a conversation that discusses your relationship non-negotiables. Openly discuss any events that will cause you or the other person to walk away, with no reasons, excuses or forgiveness needed. Knowing that if it happens, they will walk away.
This was the BIGGEST gamechanger in our relationship. Knowing this would give the both of you, or any other kind of relationship an understanding of your partner or the other person you’re in a relationship with. Knowing this would help establish boundaries of what we can and cannot do or if necessary, find a middle ground where compromise can happen.
Starting to notice a pattern here? Yup, successful communication requires openness and honesty, and you guessed it, even more communication!