Make Relationship Changes Now: (Pt. 1) Going to solutions too early.

One of the most common mistakes couples make when they are talking is to attempt to find a solution too early. In general, it is normal for men to jump at finding a solution when their partner starts discussing an issue. Sometimes it is the other way around with women assuming they know what their partner wants or needs before they have enough information.

Men and women have different styles of communicating. As Debroah Tannen describes in her article “Can’t we Talk”, found at, men usually talk to gain status in relationship and women usually talk to make connection.

Before you offer a solution you need to know what the problem is, or , if indeed, there is a problem at all. To find this out, you need to know your partner’s point of view on the issue. What do they think, what do they feel about it, what is motivating their behaviors?

Usually the listener wants to give their point of view before they have clearly and fully heard their partner’s point of view. That is what makes most discussions or arguments go off the rails, morphing into a battle of “I want to tell you my point of view before I hear your point of view” or “I want to tell you what is wrong with your point of view.”
Before you offer a solution, find out more information. Listen closely to your partner’s point of view. Keep it simple, say, “Tell me more.” Be curious. Find out your partner’s thoughts, feelings and actions about the issue. As you listen, avoid being judgmental in words, tone of voice, and other non-verbal gestures (e.g. eye rolling, fidgeting).

When you have done this you will have a better idea whether or not there is a problem. If there is, you will be clearer as to what the solution might be. If the purpose of the discussion was to connect, a solution may not be necessary or even wanted.

When you have done all of this, you can give your point of view and your partner will most likely be open to hearing it.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea Mackay

Do it Yourself Relationship Help at

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