Being in a marriage or a close relationship is the secret to a long life. But it requires effort. If you want to save your marriage, it helps to learn about communication.
On our wedding days and during our honeymoon periods, we tend to be very accepting and flexible. Communication flows, even if we say nothing at all. It is the life that begins later, which tests the strength of our relationship. Slowly, day after day, the conversations, experiences together, arguments and stress create holes in our communication.
This can lead to the destruction of the relationship. In a happy relationship, time is a healer. In an unhappy relationship, time is a prison.
Some researchers claim they can listen to a married couple’s conversation and predict the success of their relationship about 90% of the time. 90%! That is a lot! With the couples that come to do my relationship coaching program, I can often tell from the way they talk to each other or about each other if their relationship is still as sweet as honey or whether they are feeling the bitter taste of separation.
Prediction, in my opinion, is a game for fortunetellers. If we can tell the future, the question that still remains is what are we going to do about it? For the same reason, I also think finding who is to blame for the marriage breakdown is not a healthy approach. In my work, I try to focus more on the solution, on finding ways to change things for the better. After all, every couple I see was once madly in love with each other.
When I coach, I look for types of conversations. Some patterns of conversation kill even good relationships.
You might be surprised to know that negative patterns of conversation between partners can even have an impact on their parenting. When the relationship between two parents is not as equal as it should be, this can inject anger and hatred into their relationship with their kids. And it flows in both directions. Most of the time, we hear of children who try to be independent of their parents, but there are situations where parents avoid the presence of their kids for the same reasons.
In any form of therapy, understanding the way we communicate is essential to creating change. Read the patterns below and find out if you communicate that way. If you do and you want to save your marriage, seek help!
I used to tell people that the first step to making a change is being aware. However, with this particular pattern of communication, for people of any age, I have found that communication is based on deep beliefs that have been adopted in childhood and will require external help to uproot.
In this chapter of the Save Your Marriage series, I will present one key communication pattern that can impact even the most positive relationships. Particularly in marriage. I hope to add other problematic patterns over the coming weeks .
The king mentality
Kings have a very hierarchal mentality. In their world, there are people above and people below. They do not miss any opportunity to flash out their status and power. It is usually a sign that they are not very confident and need to “lower” others in order to feel in control. Kings (or queens) communicate by stating their higher status, power, advantage. They are generally very sarcastic (this point is highly applicable to parenting as well) and very condescending. Some would say they are arrogant and the gist of communication with them sounds something like: “What on earth am I doing, talking with such an idiot?”. In the king’s world, he is wiser, so everyone else is his servant.
This kind of mentality will not survive for a long time after the honeymoon period is over. It is problematic if one partner shows this type of king mentality when the couple are deep into their relationship and there is more at stake (like kids!). This communication is a form of abuse. It can be very damaging to the receiver/servant’s sense of self worth.
Usually, the king or queen in this relationship think he/she is superior and use lots of put-downs. They often search for the mistakes of others, trying to catch them out. They will tend to pull out your mistakes, usually blind to their own. Kings, never make any mistakes.
Communication with a king is a struggle for power because kings can never afford to lose. If they do make a mistake, they tend to be more abusive, demanding or condescending to cover it up.
Here are typical king/queen communication patterns:
- “It worked for me”
- “What on earth made you do such a stupid thing?”
- “I will tell you how to do that. Listen and learn from me”
- “I have a higher degree than you”
- “You come from a very low family, so what would you expect?”
- “What do you know?” (imagine the sarcastic tone)
- “How many times have I told you?”
- “What a stupid idea!”
- “I expected more of you”
- “You are very disappointing”
- “Even a kid could figured that out”
In any couples’ relationship, and even in families, there should not be kings and queens and no one should be a servant. The hardest thing in every relationship is to admit you have adopted this “king” mentality. Often, you cannot even tell because you have adopted it on a subconscious level without any intention of hurting your partner or your kids. But it is important to start noticing if you are using these sentences. They can bring you pain and heartache in the long term. If you do find yourself taking this mentality, seek advice from someone who can help you change it.
In the next post in the Save Your Marriage series, we will cover the other pattern of dysfunctional and destructive relationship.
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage