Hello, Can you hear me?

Funny thing about communication is everyone is talking about it but no-one is really doing it. Want to learn about communication, better ways to communicate, how to communicate with your spouse, how to communicate with your child, how to communicate at work, how to communicate your feelings you can easily walk into any bookstore and find 100’s of books surrounding the topic of communication. Don’t feel like stepping foot in a bookstore enter communication into the magic google bar and be ready to be overwhelmed with 1000’s of results on the topic. To lazy to type then push that magic button and ask siri and she will have tons of wisdom for you. If you rather talk to a real person, ask the person next to you about communication and they will have a wealth of information for you. You get it. Basically, information on communication is everywhere and everyone is talking about it, even me! However, many of these people aren’t doing it. It’s cliche, I know, however it’s time that we start communicating. Not just any kind of communicating but TLC.

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What does the word communication mean? If we look at it’s latin roots, according to dictionary.com communicate comes from the latin word communicatus which means to impart or communicare impart or inform. However, like many things over the years, decades, and centuries the definition changed. Today communicate can be defined; according to merriam-webster.com, to get someone to understand your thoughts and feelings. Hence, this is what communication looks like for many conversation-799448_640Awww, this explains so much. Let’s begin, shall we?

Many people communicate with the intentions to get the other person to understand their thoughts or perhaps to try and sway or change another’s persons thoughts. There are many books that will even proclaim they can teach you how to do just this type of communication. Here is the problem with this type of communication, you aren’t communicating.  Convincing possibly, swaying maybe, judging plausibly, debating probably. The issue with this definition and style of communicating is you aren’t simply informing but you are trying to get the other person to sway or understand your side.

If we stick to the basic definition of communicate, to inform, we can change the entire way we communicate. Inform is to simply give knowledge. What the person does with it, doesn’t really matter to you. Thus the saying agree to disagree. The type of Communicating I want to discuss consist of Talking, Listening, and Connecting. Yep, taken from my beautiful initials TLC. I base the principles  of my therapy and coaching around this form of communication. Today I am going to break it down for you.

Talking – to communicate exchange ideas through speaking (Dictionary.com)

In order to properly communicate you must actually speak to the person. What I can’t send a text? Nope, you  have to open your mouth and allow the beautiful sounds and words come out of your mouth. Let me pause for a second, and discuss this whole idea of communicating via text.texting-1490691_640

There is a time and place for communicating via text. Want to send a quick message, sure you can text that person. Already have a strong foundation of communicating, understanding, and a secure attachment, then sure you can communicate some things via text. The problem with texting as a foundation of communication is; I can’t hear your expressions and I can’t see your face. I can, however, misread and misinterpret your words that I am reading. Think about it, when we read a book, we all read the characters voice in different ways, we interpret certain things differently, we allow our imaginations to run free this is the beauty of reading. So, what makes reading a text any different. If I don’t have a strong foundation and secure attachment to you, then chances are I am going to misinterpret your text every single time. You text K, I read they are mad, they don’t want to talk to me, they are busy, they don’t care, and so on and so on. When in reality, you simply meant OK. Nothing more nothing less. You text, hey, how are you. They read, they really like me, they were thinking about me, this is going to be My future spouse, they are feeling me. When in reality, you simply wanted to say hi. You get the idea. Without the ability to look you in face or hear the expressions in your voice, I don’t really know what you mean. What this type of communication leads to is the new age communication debating. Trying to convince the other person of something, usually what you meant by the text and/or what they read.

Ok, hit play.

When you talk to someone you are telling them all about yourself, you are sharing your views of the world with them, they are learning how your mind works. Talking, when done properly, is a way of sharing your inner thoughts, your soul.

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How do we effectively talk? The idea of talking is to converse without expectations. It’s a moment when you can allow yourself the freedom of expression without judgement. (we will get to that in a moment) I ask each of my couples to spend 15 min each day talking. I usually give the stipulation of not discussing kids, money, or work. Why do I give such a stipulation? Because this type of talking isn’t soul connecting. Many times people will have filler type conversations. You know the kind of conversations you have with someone while waiting in line or with the grocery cashier. You aren’t exactly bearing your soul to these people. Well, some of you may. I call this type of talking filler talk because you are simply filling space and time. You aren’t interested in really talking or listening to the person and you surely aren’t trying to connect with them. When I take out these 3 topics, many couples say, “what the heck will we talk about then Tanyell?” How about yourself, each other, your relationship, your dreams, your sorrows, and the list goes on. What many people fail to realize is that we are forever changing. Yes, you hear all the time. I am who I am, I can’t change them, I haven’t changed, and blah blah blah. If we didn’t evolve and grow, we would die. We would cease to exist as a species. If you haven’t changed since you were 20…. you get the gist. By constantly talking to each other, we are constantly connecting and learning.

Listening- to give attention with the ear. (dictionary.com)

Can you see how texting in the context of TL C communication isn’t effective. If you are communicating via text, you are reading with the eye, not listening with the ear. I won’t pause again to lecture on texting. Listening is an important part of communication, in fact I would say it is probably the most valuable part. When we listen to a person, we are simply hearing the information they are giving. We aren’t waiting to reply, rebuttal, report, refute, review, restate, or any other r word that I can’t think of right now! Wait,  I have another one, respond. (I humor myself) We are simply listening. When we truly listen to a person speaking, we are able to hear their soul. A person who is being listened to doesn’t feel the need to convince the other person to see things their way. They feel heard and when they feel heard they feel secure enough to talk. See what I did there? (insert emoji wink) Missed it? Ok, let me break it down. In order for a person to feel secure enough to talk to you they must feel that you are listening. This is why filler conversations will take place in lines, because honestly,  who feels secure enough to actually talk to the person in line with them. (yes, I put a period. That wasn’t a question. (inert emoji side eye))

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How do you know you are listening? When you are listening to a person, they don’t feel the need to change their communication style to convince.  In order to listen effectively, you have to hear the person without judgement. A lot of times, when we are listening to a person talk, we are judging. Listening for certain words and key words. Listening with an intent to respond. When you are listening in the context of TLC, you are hearing the person. There aren’t any distractions. This means no cellphones, no tv, no video games, no cleaning, no chores, no computer, and definitely no kids. (the ultimate distraction) You are focused whole heartedly on the person speaking. Giving eye contact. Asking non judgmental or accusatory questions. Really hearing the expression in their voice. It isn’t about you. Ok, I am going to attempt to give an example of this, but remember reading vs listening is different. Here it goes!

P, "How was your day?" 

J, Breathes hard, "Long." 

P, "Wow, it sounds like it. Anything happen in particular today?" 

J, "Not really, I had a report due today, and it wasn't quite right. So, I had to reconfigure some things and it just consumed my entire day." 

P, "Awe, Sounds like you spent your entire day redoing work that felt like you already did. That seems like it could be frustrating." 

J, "extremely frustrating!"

P, "I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it?" and the band played on

What would usually happen in this conversation is A. P would ask how was your day. J would respond with long. P would get irritated with the short response because they missed the exasperated breath J took and the look of exhaust on their face. or B. P would begin an interrogating round of questions because P has an interior motive of trying to figure out why J didn’t answer their phone or text earlier. See the difference? In order to effectively listen, you have to be selfless. This part of the TLC isn’t about you, it’s about the speaker. You had your chance or your chance to talk  is coming. It’s their chance.  When you remove yourself from listening, you are able to effectively listen to the person talking. And you will be able to officially hear what it is they are trying to inform you about. This leads us to the final and most beautiful part.

Connecting- To join, link, or fasten together. Unite or bind latin- tie (dictionary.com)

Feeling connected to someone is one of the most important human needs. love-806375_640Connection comes in many different forms for humans. There is emotional connection, physical connection, mental connection, spiritual connection, sexual connection. Communication can provide all these types of connections. When you Talk to someone and Listen to someone, it ties you together, it unites you. You feel a connection to them. When a person opens their soul to you, and you receive it, an exchange happens that allows you to connect to the person on a deeper level. Keep in mind this is a double lane road, it isn’t a one way street. This is the difference in a relationship, say with a, therapist. Sometimes a person will begin to feel a connection with their therapist, but that connection can’t be solidified or deepened unless the therapist crosses boundaries and begins to talk to the client. Without both persons being active participants in the T and L, you can’t have the C. How will I know I am connected? Because you will feel it… ok, ok, ok…. I will give detailed answer. You will know you are connected because you will feel secure. You will be ok with a text message that reads K. You will be ok with those short  conversations via text. You won’t feel rejected when your phone call isn’t immediately answered. You won’t get defensive when your talking and they are informing. You will feel secure, safe, satisfied. The feeling of connectedness is individual. We can’t tell a person when she or he feels connected, but we can see it. Actions are different when people feel connected. The entire purpose of communication is to become connected. You communicate to inform to connect. Communicate is equal to connect. Definition numero 2 of connect, according to dictionary.com, is to establish communication between. I want to connect with you, I want to communicate with you. You can’t have connection with communication and you can’t communicate without connecting. They are joined at the hip.

Finishing it up…..

I saw a funny post the other day.

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Whoever wife calls first, pays the bill. 

The thing about this post is the husband who wins, probably, gives TLC to his spouse. They have a secure attachment to one another. More than likely he has already effectively communicated with his wife and she doesn’t feel the urge to call him, text him, dm him, FaceTime him, snapchat him, message him, or whatever else she could possibly do via phone. The wife who calls first, unless of course there is an emergency, more than likely is lacking TLC. So you see, you can’t define connectedness, but you can see it. It shows up in actions. More than likely the moment the rules where stated, the husband with the best communication skills, cheated, and informed his wife about the game! No? Ok, I guess we are the only ones that would cheat…. (insert embarrassed emoji)

This post inspired this blog. I see the couple who lost in my office and I hear the partner exasperation when they say to me, “I called and text him all night and he didn’t answer!! His excuse, he was playing some dumb a@$ game! A game was more important than calling me or answering my calls?!” I hear the defeat/confusion in his voice when he says, “I didn’t know this was going to cause ww1. It was just a game, it wasn’t that serious. They knew I was out, where I was, I don’t understand. I was only gone for a couple of hours.” This is the result of lack of TLC. Rather than  the husbands laugh, high five, and poke fun at the husbands who lost and got a phone call, they should be turning to the husband who  didn’t get a phone call, and asking them about communication.

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Express Expectations or Watch Your Relationship Die

“He should know that this is what I want!” The wife explained. “How should he know that?” I asked her. “I mean isn’t that common sense that I want him to hug and kiss me when he comes home from work! Isn’t that just something men should know. I shouldn’t have to teach him that!” The husband hung his head low, eyes watery, face of defeat, and stated quietly, “I didn’t know it was that important to her, hell I didn’t even know she expected that from me.”

Unexpressed expectations are silent killers of relationships. So many times we enter into relationships with expectations, expectations that the other persons in the relationship have no idea exist, in fact, they too have their own set of expectations. We are all guilty of making the infamous list of things/qualities we want in a partner. We make this usually unattainable list and we hold onto it for dear life. We finally meet that special someone who meets many of the qualifications on that list and we decide to pursue the relationship with the expectation that they will have the remainder qualities we so desire. We head into the relationship full force ahead. And while there may be many warning signs that they don’t quite know what all our expectations are, we still keep moving forward at full speed, never expressing these expectations. Then years down line after the rose-colored glasses have come off, and real life has set in, we realize many of our expectations are not being met and that’s when the ish hits the fan and all hell breaks loose.

unexpressed expectations are silent killers of relationships -Tanyell

The unknowingly partner is simply floating through life doing things the way they have always did things and quite frankly the only way they know how. When one day they find themselves in the biggest argument with the partner saying, “I am unhappy, and I don’t know if I want to continue on in this relationship.” BOOM! Blindsided and the relationship just blew up! This is how many adult relationships play out. Here is my question would you have a baby and allow that babyto grow without any guidance and direction, then one day tell that child you are done with them because they haven’t met your expectations? I’m guessing probably not. Most times as a parent we teach, guide, direct, explain, and make the rules clear. There isn’t much guess-work for a baby as they grow. We understand that these fresh, brand new little creatures don’t know anything and that it is up to us to ensure they get the information they need to thrive, be healthy, and productive. What if I told you that a relationship is exactly like that little baby?! How so Tanyell? I am glad you asked!

You have two people coming together that are totally different from one another, different backgrounds, experiences, families, upbringings, beliefs, and the list goes on. These two people come together and they create a NEW baby relationship together. Here is the kicker this relationship doesn’t know how to survive, it doesn’t know what is it expected of it. It is your duty to educate this relationship on how to thrive and what it will take to be healthy. Without you teaching and nourishing this relationship it will die. People are afraid to speak their expectations and share exactly what is they need. Imagine how much heartache and pain could be avoided if on the first few dates a person expressed their expectations, needs, and wants. This allows the other person to know exactly what they are getting into and if these are seeds they are willing to sow. Imagine if you treated a relationship like a baby and assumed they (being the other person) knew nothing, forcing you to have to share your knowledge. The freedom this would bring into that relationship. When I met my husband. we spent hours on the phone talking and not just shooting the breeze talking but really talking about our expectations, wants, and needs. I told him that I expected to stay home with my children when I started having babies. He knew this was an expectation of mine there was no shock factor when I had our first daughter and came to him to discuss quitting my job. As we get older and life changes, so does my expectations, how would he know that if we don’t discuss them. I recently realized how important it is to me for him to fill my gas tank and wash my car. (I know call me traditional/old-fashioned) Growing up my father did this and talked a lot about a man washing and filling your gas tank up for you. I didn’t realize how much I missed that and how that was an underline expectation of mine until recently. Instead of getting angry that my husband hadn’t been meeting this expectation or expecting him to simply know this was an expectation of mine, I discussed it with him. He now knows this is an expectation of mine, therefore, he has no excuse when I am upset or disappointed when this expectation isn’t met.

Because I realize unexpressed expectations are silent killers and our world is forever changing, my husband and I have monthly SEX! That’s right Sessions Expressing eXpectations! It is important that we sit down and talk about if our needs, wants, and desires are being met in this relationship and if not what can we do differently to get those things met. We take these moments serious and it is a crucial part of our relationship. It’s like medicine for unexpressed expectations. (chemotherapy) Now there are times when expectations are unrealistic, “I want to have sex twice a day every day” Ummm not going to happen. (In my house anyway) So for us we discuss how can we make this expectation more realistic so that your needs, desires, wants are getting met, but I am not comprising who I am or my needs, wants, and desires. This is where healthy communication comes in. We discuss what could happen if these expectations aren’t met, how important are these expectations, and so forth and so on. These SEX moments allow us to get to know one another again and grow in our relationship. It keeps our relationship healthy and allows it to mature and grow with us. Think about it, in every area of your life there are reviews and assessments rather it is at work, school, health, etc. I mean even your car gets maintenance and assessments. At a job, aq the boss or whomever meets with the employee and they have a review over how the employee has been performing at their duties. They talk about improvements and ways the employee has exceeded or met expectations. In school there are exams to assess what the student has mastered and what they still need to learn. Go to the doctor and the doctor does an exam to assess the patient health and discuss how well they have been taking care of themselves and ways they can improve their health.  We take our cars for oil changes, tire rotations, and other yearly maintenance to ensure it is running at it’s best. Life is all about assessments. So why not have an assessment in a relationship? If all these areas are important enough to have routine checkups, assessments, and maintenance isn’t your relationship? A relationship is by far one of the single most important thing in your life so why neglect it. I challenge you to have SEX in your relationship and assess the relationship in order to improve it and make sure it stays on course. You wouldn’t drive a car for years without providing maintenance on it so why deprive your relationship of healthy maintenance? Don’t wait another day to express your expectations.

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Marriage and relationship Challenge… Showing affection

Often times, we find ourselves moving so fast in life that we forget to how our significant others affection. It is so important that you show your love one how much you love with them with actions. As the saying goes actions speak louder than words. This week, focus on really showing your partner affection by holding their hand, cuddling, hugging them, kissing them good night. Check out this quick video on showing affection this week!! Good Luck and remember to keep it spicy

 

 

Marriage Challenge Week 4…. Workout Together

There is something passionate, sexy, and exciting about working out with your partner. It challenges you to push yourself, trust your partner, and lean on them. This weeks challenge is all about getting fit and healthier with your partner! Good Luck and Keep it spicy!!

Keeping the Spice Alive, Marriage Challenge Week 3!

Trying to maintain a family, yourself, and a marriage can sometimes be overwhelming, and you may find yourself allowing one of these things to be neglected. What I have found, is the thing that typically gets neglected is the marriage. It is so important that we take the time to keep our marriage exciting, youthful, and spicy!

Good Luck this week, and share your experiences!

Complimenting your spouse!

This weeks challenge is to give your spouse/significant other compliments on the things you appreciate about them. Often, we allow life to take over, forgetting to show our love ones how much we appreciate them and all they bring to our lives. Here is a weekly challenge to get you back in the grove of showing your love and appreciation for your spouse!

Marriage Challenge Week 1

Are you ready to spice up your marriage and get things burning again? So often I hear couples say we are growing  or have grown apart.  My first question to them is do you guys talk? They usually respond, well yea, when we are not running around like crazy people! My next question is what do you talk about? It is amazing, how easily as a married couple we can get caught up in the routines of life and not even realize it. In this weeks series of  Marriage Challenges, I challenge you and your spouse to spend 15 min talking….. but the key to this is you CANNOT discuss your kids, finances, or work!! GASP….. Well what shall we talk about then Tanyell??? I don’t know that is for you to decide. What you will discover is that there are things about your significant other that may have changed over the years, they have grown and have different interest now. But we find ourselves so boggled down with day to day life that we don’t ask these type of questions anymore. Think about this, what did you talk about before kids, before you accumulated finances together, before you got married?

I challenge you to spend this entire week sitting down with your spouse and spending just 15 minutes getting to know them again. It’s only 15 min people!! Try to make this challenge meaningful turn off the t.v for those 15 min and really spend some quality time with each other. Really listening and conversing, who knows, you may look up and a whole hour has went by! Let me know how you did on this Challenge what was the hardest part? Was it easy for you? What did you guys talk about? I really want to hear your before and after!!

~Good Luck and Keep it Spicy!