Communication Skills for Lifelong Relationships

Understand Communication Styles

It's important to understand that communication challenges in male-female relationships stem from the different ways in which men's and women's brains are wired. "Men compartmentalize their feelings, but women remember everything," says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. "So when women bring up issues in a relationship, they tend to bring up everything that is related," she adds, noting that this is a big mistake. That's because most men find this approach overwhelming, or view "hashing over everything" as a character attack.

According to Dr. Northrup, the most important communication skill for women to learn is that you cannot expect your mate to be your best friend. Save the long-winded moaning sessions for your girlfriends.

Laurie Moore, Ph.D., author of Creative Intimacy and Choosing a Life Mate Wisely, advises people to choose a partner with whom they have enough in common. "You need some foundation from which communication can flow well from the beginning," says Dr Moore, who is a psychotherapist and a licensed marriage family therapist. When communication styles are vastly different, couples often spend more time learning how to communicate than actually communicating. Dr. Moore compares this to being from two different countries and not speaking the same language.

More to Explore