- Greg Cheney, PhD, LMFT
Stop, Drop, and Roll to Improve Communication in Your Marriage
Updated: Apr 30, 2022
You are in good company if communication is an area in your relationship that you struggle with! Improving communication is one of the most common goals couples have for going to couples therapy and marriage counseling. Lack of good communication is frustrating at its best and devastating to a relationship at its worst. Most couples long to be truly heard and understood by their partner, but too often the exact opposite is experienced leading to miscommunication and disconnection. Before long the dream of living a truly connected and close relationship seems like a distance hope that seems to slip further and further away. At times it can seem almost completely out of reach.
What can be done to improve communication?
Stop, drop, and roll into improving communication in your marriage.
1. Stop. When communication starts to go sideways the first step to improve communication is to stop communicating with emotions that push others away. Anger is an example of an emotion that pushes others away. Any emotion that serves the purpose of defending, avoiding, protecting, or reacting to a situation can fall in this category as well. Emotions that push each other away are also called hard emotions. When communication goes sideways in relationship hard emotions are usually present and tend to push partners away from each other. The first step improve communication in your relationship is to stop communicating with hard emotions.
2. Drop. Drop into the softer emotions that are present instead of communicating with hard emotions. The hard emotions tend to overtake and cover up the softer emotions. However, noticing the softer emotions is easier said than done and will take some practice. Hard emotions take over our conversations in literally milliseconds. They cover up the softer emotions to the point where it may seem like the softer emotions are not even there! Once you stopped communicating with hard emotions here is a helpful tip to uncover your softer emotions. Take a breath, turn inward, and get curious about what is happening inside. Emotions such as sadness, fear, discouragement, and disappointment may start to become more accessible.
3. Roll. Roll into communicating these softer emotions to your partner. Statements that communicate softer emotions are usually “I Statements.” For example, “When we argue like this, I feel sad and I can feel this sadness like a heavy weight on my chest.” Communicating softer emotions takes courage and feels risky. Rolling into communicating your softer emotions to your partner can feel scary. This type of communication comes from a place of vulnerability. Vulnerability is hard, and is why communication can go sideways so quickly. Our initial reaction to is protect our vulnerability through hard emotions like anger.
Give the stop, drop, and roll strategy to improving communication in your marriage a try!
With some practice and patience you may soon find yourself improving communication in your marriage.
Looking for assistance with improving communication in your marriage? Our team in our Fuquay Varina counseling clinic specializes in couples & marriage counseling. Couples & marriage counseling is not the only service we offer. Valiant Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling provides Emotionally Focused Therapy, couples intensives, Christian marriage counseling, online therapy, and couples workshops.