1. What are the rules for good communication? • Focus on the way you address a problem Do not delay difficult conversations. Assume that it will be stressful and that you can become both defensive or emotional. Do not invite your partner to a movie or a meal after which you plan to have "the conversation". Be honest and agree on a time and place that you will have a discussion. Never attempt these types of conversations in the heat of battle or immediately afterwards. Give your partner a chance to calm down and think about it but try to complete it within 48 hours. Do not start with "we have to talk". Start with "What do you think about ..." or "I'd like to hear your opinion about ...". Keep it simple and stay on one topic. "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down" is a well-known line from the Mary Poppins movie. It's good advice when you have something to say to someone that they do not want to hear. Treat it like a hamburger (meat patty between two sandwiches). Start with something positive, deliver your short and powerful message and end up with something positive again. E.g. "Thank you for the effort and what you do for me, but the way you spoke to me today is totally unacceptable. Thank you for listening.” Try to use statements like "us" or "I feel" instead of an accusing "me" or "you". "You will always ..." or "you never do ..." may be true but pointing to fingers makes it impossible to solve any problems. Do not talk about the problem for hours on end but work together to find a solution. • Even if you deliver your message in the right way, you are still in a relationship with a person who will show a human response. You may have prepared for hours on how to have a certain conversation with your partner. However, your partner did not have that advantage and his / her response will not be well thought through. Whatever your partner says on this point, it will be your job to stay calm. Please note, all this happens before you talk about the detail. The detail must only be discussed after you have your partner’s cooperation, otherwise it will develop into a fight. Good communication happens in phases. Do not try to overcome a long-term problem in one conversation. Here are 4 possible responses from your partner and how to deal with it: 1. Your partner agrees that there is a problem. Great! You have the type of relationship that is far in the minority! Try focusing on the solutions rather than how the problems originated in the first place. Regularly follow up with plans that you have made together. 2. Your partner immediately begins to blame you. If this happens, your relationship is in the majority. This is not a bad position, as it implicates that your partner realizes that there is indeed a problem. If this happens, try listening without trying to defend yourself or to propose solutions. Try to agree with your partner wherever possible and do not start arguing. Also, do not threaten your partner. 3. Your partner denies that there are any problems. Then it's your job to make your partner aware, as people in denial need help to become aware of a problem before they will do anything about it. Do not focus directly on the issue, but suggest ways to improve the relationship, for example, more romance or a "budget" so you can enjoy more activities together. 4. Your partner is threatening to leave the relationship. If this happens, do not panic. If serious problems have come over a long period of time, it is obvious that your partner will consider terminating the relationship. Do not attack but agree that both of you must make sure that it is the right choice. If you deal with this properly, it can open communication channels in ways that you did not think was possible. Consider professional help. 2. How to deal with hurtful things from the past? Women often bring up things from the past as they want you to understand and feel how they felt. She wants to feel safe with you and be ensured that you will protect her from similar sorrow at all costs. Keep in mind that women's emotions are processed and stored differently. She will bring up things from the past for as long as she feels you do not understand! What should we do? Men, give your partner a chance to vent and talk about it. Remember, even if she's talking about you, it's not really about you, but it's about something that hurt her feelings deeply. Do your best to listen and try to understand. Give her the assurance she needs so that she can also be able to put the past behind her. However, women must realize and understand that men do not process their emotions in the same way. Women use the past to analyze and determine how good or bad the relationship is doing. Men do not evaluate the relationship in the same way. Men are problem solvers and believe that once a problem has been discussed, it is therefore resolved and should disappear. For them, old cows are exhausting and have no sense bringing it up again. Thus, women try to let the past go and rather focus on the present. In order to communicate effectively, we need to focus on the problem at hand. You cannot dwell in the past and expect progress at the same time. It only causes bitterness and prevents current problems of being discussed and resolved.