How to Really Connect

couple with can phone

Are you frustrated that your partner wont listen to you?  Do you sometimes wonder if you and your partner are even speaking the same language? Are you afraid your relationship is over?

If so, here is Dr. Dana’s Communication Lesson to help you deepen you connection as a couple.

Make an Effort To Truly Listen

We should always ask ourselves with each interaction, with each argument, even with each silence, “Is this bringing me closer or further away from the person I love?”  Truly listening and making an effort to understand, (even if you agree to disagree), will always bring you closer.  It helps you and your partner feel safe, understood and connected.

Connecting Should Be the Main Goal

Begin by asking yourself “What do I want to accomplish?”  The answer should always be that “I am trying to connect with my partner.”  Remember that each interaction can bring us closer together or further apart from our partner.  What I mean is this:  our primary goal should always be to understand and to be understood, and therefore move closer to our partner.   Some of us, however, often get so caught up in being “right,” we lose sight of being unified and happy.

Thorough Communication Leads to True Understanding

Next, ask yourself “What do I need them to know?”  This is complicated because there are many parts to the answer.   Many people jump right into what they think is the “solution.”

  1. “Stop yelling at me!”
  2. “Aargh!  Why don’t you just call me when you say you’re going to?!”
  3. “That’s it!  I’m never taking you to another work function!”

All of these are ineffective and often do more damage than good.  They also lack other key information that, if more thoroughly communicated, would more likely help you be better understood and potentially decrease the chances of these painful situations happening again.

A Better Way to Communicate

If you have an emotionally charged topic you need to communicate, the best way to get your point across is by using an “I” statement.  An “I” statement is a technique to help better communicate difficult topics in a non-threatening way.  There are four parts to an “I” statement all of which we talk about in detail in the StrongMarriageNow System.  The point is: when you kindly and lovingly ask for what you need, it’s so much easier for your partner to give it to you.

To learn more about using Dr. Dana’s Important Communication Lesson – How to Really Connect  using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out ourStrongMarriageNow System.

Do you really listen to your partner and connect? Does it help? Tell us about it!   Please comment below.


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Gina 13 years ago

My husband and I really have an communication problem and I seen myself in the article.I always tell him his approach when addressing certain situations with me is not good at all. I'm misunderstood in the way I respond to him. He had an affair and now I have a trust issue toward him. He thinks I should be over it. Sometimes I just don't want to communication with him because it's a one sided conversation his way or no way.

amybarnhartsd 13 years ago

I'm sorry to hear about the communication issues and your husband's affair. I wanted to share an article form Dr. Dana that talks about the six steps to recover from an affair that you may find helpful. Hope this helps...

Mary 13 years ago

I'm sorry to hear about your problems. I have had the same thing happen to me, most of the time when the "cheater" is talking about the afair... the natural reaction is to be defensive. They are the only one that can justify there act. So...(not to give in and say that it is okay) what I did was think that this person really dose love me, but he was hurt, and needed affection from someone he didn't care for just to get what he wanted. Once I had thought of it that way... (this may not be your case) I felt bad... I had pushed this person away. I told him that he was still very loved, I felt bad, and that he is a person that is justified in having needs. He deserves to get what he wants, because he is a person. Once he realized telling me actually gave us a chance to grow closer, his defences were down, and we both got to express how we felt, because he knew I wasn't there to judge him. It gave me a chance to let him know I was going to change. I was angry (furieous!) but I understood that the afair began with anger tward me was because of love. I know it is complicated, but read "what you feel, you can heal" my husband is now reading it, and things are really begining to make sense. we still argue, but that's not the point, it's about being herd and having our needs met. Good luck.

D 12 years ago

My, Wife and I are separated and it wasn't all of my fault. I still Love her dearly and we are still legally maried(21 years) and I want to reconcile and move on with being happy. We had a wonderful relationship, but others got in between us and it's a big mess. I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do to make this happen for I know there is still that bond/spark that is stil there. HELP!!!!!

Thelma 11 years ago

Talk it over with your spouse to discern where and how things went bad, and how you can together keep your guards up against such future incidents. Meanwhile, remind each other of how and why you value one another, as well as: that you still take interest and concern over each other. Put icing on the cake: go dating with one another - if feelings become mutual.

Teresa 11 years ago

yes. sure there was the comments as to why i was daintg a freshman but i didnt care. he was everything i wanted.we were going out for about three weeks when things started to get screwed up. one of my guy friends professed his love for me and was trying to move in, but i still liked my boyfriend and was confused cuz i sorta liked my friend too. Then there was a rumor going around that my boyfriend kissed another girl. a friend of ours that was daintg someone else who shes in love with and wont leave.idk what the real story was whether it was an accident, she kissed him he kissed her i dont care.i found out and was devastated. so two days later my friend came over and he kissed me.but even though everyone was convinced i was better off i still knew i had feelings for chris(my boyfriend) so i really didnt know what to do. but apparently we werent officially broken up. so when i told him that i wanted to be with nobody but him and that i didnt care who kissed who. and i also told him that my friend had kissed me no lies there, i thought we were going to be fine. so the next day when he came over and broke up with me i literally felt my heart shatter on the spot.his reason? he didnt want to hurt me, and wanted to be stupid reckless and get into fights without worrying about me worrying about him . where the hell did all this come from?!k maybe he's just a 15 yr old that wants to be free, but in all honesty i knew he cared about me, he told me he wanted to be mine forever and didnt want us to break when this came at me i was naturally confused, and tried to tell him this. but he insists that i dont know what i want and that thinking about it will help me out.i did that, so much it hurt actually.idk what to do, hell i even looked up a get your ex back website, but it said not to make him feel guilty, and not contact him for awhile . so im worried i already screwed it up because ive talked to him a lot and we still are friends. he told me right after dumping me that we are still friends and that i can call him if needed.he hasnt actually seen me cry, well maybe once, but i do put my thoughts towards him as to questioning why we broke up. ive told him i care more about him than anyone in my life.and i know that im in love with him completely.i want to know what i can do to get him back, and to realize i wouldnt care if he was frankenstein, i love everything about him and how he makes me able to have fun and not be the excessive over responsible worry-er that i am. when im around him im happy and fun.i want that back, i want to be able to sleep at night without having to dry my pillow of tears first.any advice on what to do would help me beyond belief plz?oh and i also wrote him a note telling my exact feelings and a pros and cons list because he wanted me to really compare both sides of why i want him back. should i give it to him?

beverly 11 years ago

dr dana, I have been separated now for 7 months, and i am no getting any closer to get him to talk about our relationship , or trying to wk it out. He doesnt even want any part of talking about it, He asked me, Why cant i just get what i am asking for ? A divorce , im not happy and i want my life back> this is what he says to me, if i even bring anything up about us trying to save our marriage. I have no idea what to do> All i see from his is still refusing to accept partial responsibility in our problems and wont communicate. I want to help us, and for him to sit with me and learn how to communicate, learn what each other wants in our relationship and trust again. I think he feels he cant trust me because i called the police on him because he was drunk and beating up one of our horses very badly. He thinks he will loose his job over domestic violence, and i never said anything about that, nor was there, except arguing, I explained to him, he could go to prison for animal cruelty or drinking and driving constantly that he does. He drives drunk home every wk end from somewhere, I dont want him to kill someone else, i dont want it to happen to him, but killing someone else because of this stupidity is going to destroy all of us. I want more than anything to save my marriage, and wk on all the issues. but is it a lost cause if i am the only one? should i let it go for now, and just wk on myself, and change myself, and get my career on the way. It seems thats my only choice. Should i consider trying to get a pastor to talk to him. He wont go to counseling. Help

ceu 11 years ago

My husband cheated on me few months ago and I agree to give the marriage another chance but it has been really difficult. He is still working where she works. ( yes it was a work affair) and just makes things impossible. We argue nearly everyday and he has not made up for he done and he's still very defensive. We had marriage problems before the affair but now its harder to deal with them on top of the cheating. I have not been able to forgive or forget, and I get very angry and can't trust him. Yesterday I done something that I was trying to avoid, I contacted the other woman by phone so we could meet, she was shocked to say the least and refused to talk to me. Just listening to her voice being young and sweet ( she's 25 and my husband 40!) also no care in the world about other people' s life's and feelings. It was stupid and didn't help my situation but I just needed to do it, can anyone understand? I feel trapped and stuck with these emotions, thoughts and doubts in my head. And having two young children doesn't help decisions. Thank you!

Eunice 11 years ago

Ceu, I am so sorry to hear of your situation. Marriage in itself is hard. Having to deal with an “affair” is an unimaginable event from my position. I have no experience in getting through such a horrible ordeal, but I am sure there are a plethora of counselors and reputable churches that you can seek help. At this point in your marriage, you need all the good advice and/or guidance you can access to get you through. In the midst of all that you’re dealing with, you must first take care of YOU! Yes, it’s painful right now, butYOU matter! YOU NEED YOU! And most of all those two young children need YOU! DO NOT give him (husband) or her (the mistress) the energy you have left in you. Use it to help in recovery and re-energize your inner strength to get you through, regardless of the outcome of your marriage, you need to be in the BEST spiritual, mental, and physical condition to continue with life – it’s (life) NOT over! As a suggestion, start or increase the physical exercise. For me, it clears my mind, which helps me to think clearly instead of approaching the situation in a way that I may later regret. Be a little more “selfish” with yourself – making sure that you’re okay should be your priority. Take time for yourself; find 1 or 2 strong, mature, and Godly women who made it through similar challenges and still have “peace of mind” that you can talk with. Not someone who is going to bash him, the mistress or yourself; but some who will encourage and strengthen you to keep pushing forward. Above all the suggestion I can offer you, the best yet is GOD! I don’t know what you believe, but God has always come through for me – and I’ve been through serious fire storms (the book of James is my all time favorite). You are all, YOU and those two young children have – keep pushing forward, your best days are still to come.

RD 11 years ago

Your e-mails have been very helpful. However, I feel stuck in an emotional state I can't seem to move past. My wife had an affair and I cheated on her too...not at the same time. But it all came out at the same time. We met in high school and have been married 25 years. We agreed we still love each other but failed to provide each others needs in a lot of areas. We are horrified at our actions but completely devastated at the same time. She's the love of my life and the only thing worse than the cheating is not having her at all. I am stuck in the hurt. It turns to anger and back to hurt. I'm on an emotional roller coaster. I want to heal but none of the books, blogs, videos, etc. have helped get the images out of my head. It's been 4 months now. The shock is starting to fade but sometimes I feel worse now then I did on the day we came clean.

JCD 11 years ago

My husband had a mistress, they'd been together for 6-7 years. During those times I really wanted to divorce him, I agree with Eunice only by reforming yourself that you can move on. Prayer is the number one source of reforming yourself. Seeking professional help such as counseling would also help. Considering the children's welfare such as emotional, psychological, and financial stability would also make you think twice. Try to reflect what have you contributed to push him away, then by then work things little by little to bring him back. Spite is not the answer. I hope this helps! With God nothing is impossible!

penny 10 years ago

Ive just found out a few weeks ago that my husband cheated on me a few years ago with 3 different woman. One he saw more than once. I suspected he had cheated but not with 3 woman. At the time he told me he didnt love me and said he was going to leave me but didnt. He told me afterwards he didnt mean it he was just confused and that hes always loved me. He never owned up to the woman on his own accord. He denied any adultry for years until recently. One of the woman told someone I know and they told me in front of him. His faced changed and it was obvious it was true. But even then he denied it. He eventually told me about her but said it happened once. I found out he had slept with her more than once over the next 2 weeks and eventually he claim clean about the other 2 woman. He not only kept the adultry from me for all those years but when I did say to him recently tell me everything and we will work through it, he continued to lie to my face. Every time I got a little stronger I found out a new lie and he brought me down again. He says I know everything now and he is disgusted with himself. Im still with him . I have 4 grown up children and haven't told them, I don't want to hurt them. I love him and we have been happy for a long time but ive always felt it was my fault back then that I made him unhappy, now I feel I wasnt enough for him and im very unhappy. They were all younger than me. I want us to work and move forward but im so hurt and angry that he did it and that he lied for all those years and didnt tell me yhe truth in yhe last few weeks when it came out.

penny 10 years ago

Hi I confronted one of my husbands women she denied it infront of him. But then sent me a text saying it was him that did all the chasing. You have to erase her from her mind as hard as it is. I battle every day. If you want it to work you have to start small. Make new memories. Picnics, watch a film, date nights, but if you are feeling low tell him rather than letting it build upp. Tel him he will have to be patient and expect highs and lows but you will have to learn to find a release. A friend a hobby. Sounds perthetic but worth a try. Good luck

Mike_Olsen_SMN 10 years ago

HI, Penny - I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. We have a lot of advice on how to deal with an affair. The important thing is to figure out why is happened in the first place. Sometimes it's because we as a spouse are not fulfilling our spouse's needs but sometimes it's the spouse fighting their own battles.

Dee 10 years ago

God.....I hate him!!lol thank you I am trying

Mike_Olsen_SMN 10 years ago

Hi Dee - You have the power to stop this boat and get off, and we don't mean divorce.

y 10 years ago

Thank you so much your book helped me and wife over come a afair. We are strong each day I love her and proud that we was able to save our family.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 10 years ago

Hi Y - I'm very happy to hear it, and proud of you both. Remember you are always on a journey.