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Speak Softly and with Purpose

How to Speak to Your Partner Effectively Without Being Cruel


How we speak to people says a lot about us and nothing about them. If you’re loud and bellowing, then that shows you lack self-control and are only seeking a confrontation and not a solution. If you are shy and soft-spoken, you are viewed as someone who is weak and not to be taken seriously. When speaking with others, it is important to convey yourself in a manner that says, “hey, this is important to me,” but that also isn’t threatening or domineering.

Even more important than how we speak to people is WHAT we speak to people. There is an old saying that is often chanted amongst youngsters on remedial school playgrounds across the world. The saying goes:

Sticks and stones
May break my bones;
But words will never hurt me

As a child, I used to recite this myself whenever someone would say something to me that I considered mean. I thought it was fun to say, and, for whatever reason, as a kid, it made me feel empowered (I guess). I was never really bothered by what people said to me in remedial school. And, to this day, I can’t remember a single mean thing someone said to me from kindergarten to the 12th grade if I’m being completely honest.

Not a damn single incident. Haha!

In fact, it wasn’t until I got married two weeks after turning 18 that I really learned the immense power behind harsh words and the damages they can cause. My husband and I were young and dumb and had no clue how to speak to each other. We didn’t have a clue how to talk about what we wanted or needed without managing to do some sort of harm to the other one. It was a nightmare!

As I’m sure many of you have experienced, relationships are unbelievably difficult to maintain, especially in this day and age where every single human being in the dating pool seems to be living in the “plenty of fish” mindset. Because of this, nobody seems to want to stick around and fight for relationships anymore. So, when we do find someone who wants to marry our asses, we jump on that opportunity more quickly than a cheetah on a gazelle.

But, as hard as relationships are, marriages are even harder! You have to learn how to live with someone who you piss off and who pisses you off all the time! Whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, it’s inevitable! You’re going to piss each other off at some point. You have to go to bed at night and wake up every morning accepting the fact that there is an undeniable possibility that you will argue with, roll your eyes at, or hurt your spouse in the near future. True story, bro!

Despite knowing the inevitabilities of a marriage, though, people still want to do it for some reason—those hopeless romantics that still believe in commitment, compromise, and romance. So this article is for those crazy lovers out there who still believe in staying together and fighting for each other each and every day!

And, for any couple that says they don’t argue, who are they trying to convince? Us or them? The cold, hard truth is that everyone argues with their spouse at some point or another. However, these couples may not recognize their arguments as arguments because they handled them in a calm and collected manner that resulted in a compromise of some sort without either individual feeling attacked or dismissed. These are the couples who understand that what they say to their partner and how they speak to their partner can make all the difference when trying to express their desires or concerns.

Your partner should never feel like they are on trial whenever they approach you with something that’s on their mind. All relationships should have an open-door policy with a clause that says, “if this discussion becomes a conviction, each party must 'pause' the conversation and return to address the issue when tempers and emotions have subsided once more.” If you cannot stay in control of your emotions when discussing a certain topic, then it should be placed on a list of things you and your partner need to discuss soon, but can’t until there is less emotional attachment to said topic. 

Write down the date you want to try and talk about it again. That way, you can visualize an end to this issue that weighs heavy on your mind and then move on to the next topic (if there are any). This allows you and your partner the opportunity to be able to see what the issue is and prepare for the discussion more thoroughly by collecting your thoughts, understanding your “why” for bringing up the subject in the first place more clearly, and contemplating what solution or compromise you are hoping to achieve by discussing this particular issue with your partner.

Now if a discussion needs to happen immediately, a solution needs to be found, and tempers and emotions are flared up, then I suggest grabbing a notebook and writing down your thoughts and responses. This simple action ensures that the conversation happens right away, but also allows for more consideration for your partner to be placed into each response. I’ve found it’s a lot harder to write an insult than it is to say one in the heat of a moment. 

People who argue just to argue or people who argue without a clear resolution in mind oftentimes get nowhere with their partners, feel devalued, and end up giving up. This is why the divorce rate is so high these days. We don’t try to understand each other anymore, and most individuals certainly aren’t willing to compromise their thoughts, beliefs, or ideals for anyone, let alone their partner. Because of these behaviors (or lack thereof), we unknowingly allow contempt to creep into our hearts. 

For those of you who don’t know, contempt is the number one serial killer of all relationships. Contempt can shut a heart down faster than cheating, name-calling, or abuse combined. Once contempt has been allowed to enter into a household, it is almost impossible to extinguish. It starts as a tiny little black dot in a heart and then spreads like a plague of death because that is exactly what it is: a cloud of poison hell-bent on spreading its toxic waste on the person who set it free in the first place.

Once you have contempt for your partner, you allow yourself to do terrible things. It starts with subtle changes like not calling on your lunch break like you usually do or neglecting to respond to your partner’s “good morning” text because you “just don’t feel like it.” While you don’t notice you’re doing these things, I promise your partner does. These little things were a part of their routine too, and, when they begin to happen intermittently or stop happening altogether, that’s when another killer of relationships busts down the door: insecurity.

If contempt and insecurity are allowed to enter a household, it’s game over! Because of the newfound insecurities in your partner, you are going to fight more than you ever imagined because you will feel attacked by accusations, and they will feel dismissed by your lack of understanding. Not only does this lead to a never-ending, vicious cycle of pointless arguing, but it leads to something even more devastating: your partner developing contempt for you.

Don’t let this happen! I repeat! Do not allow this to happen!

If contempt consumes the hearts of both partners, there is no turning back to the love you once shared. Contempt will eliminate every ounce of love you ever felt for your partner and leave a path of mass destruction behind while doing so. Not only will the relationship be obliterated, but self-esteem, trust, and the ability to commit in future relationships will be annihilated with it.

And it won’t stop there. That damage will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will feel unimportant. You will feel like you’re not worthy of those who want to love you. You will question the purpose of your very existence almost everyday, if not every day, of your life. You will hate yourself for feeling the way you do; you will hate who you allowed yourself to become, and you will hate the person who made you feel the way you do. And then you will realize that you made them feel just as bad as well, and then you feel worse, and regret and remorse will kick in, and you’ll want to die. 

Too blunt? Maybe so. But this is a scenario we all as human beings with feelings and emotions have faced, are facing, or will face at some point in our lives. It’s time we learn how to break this obnoxious and violent self-destructive cycle, learn how to communicate with each other, and treat each other fairly and with dignity and respect while doing so. 

They say all is fair in love and war, and at one point that was probably true. But if we continue to live by this saying, there are gonna be a hell of a lot more wars taking place and a lot less love being created and nurtured. Soon it will be a dog-eat-dog world. Men and women will turn against each other, and, before we know it, nobody will be reproducing, and we will be wiped out as a human race and become extinct. 

We need babies damn it! Everyone loves babies. Babies help the world turn 'round. Babies help restore love. Babies make people feel joy and connection. And, let’s face it, we are animals and love to indulge in the act that creates babies. So, if you take away sex and take away babies, this world is going to suck, and we will all become way more miserable than we think we already are. Trust me!

Don’t let you or someone you know become a victim of CIRS (Contempt and Insecure Relationship Syndrome). It’s not difficult to prevent, but it’s a hell of a battle to recover from because there is no cure, and the disease will poke its ugly and painful symptoms back up when you least expect it. 

To avoid developing CIRS, I (a survivor with CIRS), have come up with a few tips on how to keep you and your partner from developing it. The following suggestions are what I have found to be the most effective way to have a discussion with your partner without developing CIRS. Here they are:

  1. Always speak with a calm and collected tone. Never yell or mumble when speaking to your partner.
  2. Important discussions should be executed someplace where you and your partner should be able to sit and face each other. This keeps you and your partner level and prevents one of you (or both of you) from feeling talked down to or belittled.
  3. Avoid name calling. You’re not mad at your partner, you’re mad at your partner’s actions. Insulting your partner by calling him/her a name is unacceptable and will only lead to them feeling bad about themselves and not even being able to remember that it was their actions that hurt you, not their existence.
  4. Once an issue has been presented, never let it go unresolved. It’s okay to take a break from it and address it at a later time, but it is never okay to dismiss it altogether. (Reminder: If you do walk away temporarily from discussing an issue, make sure you and your partner set a clear date for the readdressing the issue so you both know when the discussion is going to happen and can prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the discussion. If you can’t arrive at a resolution at the second meeting, then put it on pause again until a later time. Continue this process until a resolution has been found.)
  5. Always remember that once something has been said, it cannot be retracted. It will not be unheard either. What you say can make or break your partner, the person you love. So always choose your words wisely because physical wounds heal, but verbal lashings leave burning brain tumors for life.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful night!

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