Nurturing Connection : A guide to transformative communication in relationships

In the intricate dance of relationships, protecting the sanctity of a marriage often hinges on the way we express our emotions. A recurrent observation in my recent work with couples reveals a common pattern: the tendency to resort to judgment and condemnation instead of articulating genuine feelings.

Consider this familiar scenario:  one partner, feeling hurt and neglected, is faced with a choice in communication. Instead of expressing vulnerability by saying” When you spend so much time at work and with your friends and are exhausted each time you come home, I feel hurt and undervalued,” some opt for a more accusatory approach, exclaiming,” You are so selfish! You are so insensitive!” The impact of these choices is profound. The former allow room for understanding and apology, while the latter inflicts wounds of judgment, anger, and contempt. The potency of judgment and condemnation lies in their ability to penetrate the most vulnerable aspects of our hearts, striking at the core of our being. While some may resort to these tactics, the reciprocal nature of relationships ensure that the condemnation only begets counterattack, fueling a destructive cycle.

To break free from this destructive pattern, it is essential to relinquish the urge to judge and condemn. Embracing openness and vulnerability can transform relationships. Abandoning anger and contempt, steering clear of the need to be right, avoiding comparisons, and being slow to anger are crucial steps in this journey. Choosing to protect the relationship, fostering respect for your partner, and recognizing that judgment and condemnation are assaults on the soul become pivotal principles.

In essence, that decision to nurture connection involves relinquishing judgment and condemnation, paving the way for a relationship grounded in grace, forgiveness, and the courage to express feelings of hurt. By embracing these principles, couples can embark on the transformative journey towards deeper understanding and closeness.

Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT