“In order to get the most out of your car, it helps to know what it needs to operate effectively. You need to know what fuel and oil it uses, and how to get things fixed when it’s not running right. The same is true for human beings. If you want to have a great relationship, you will first have to satisfy your partner’s needs for acknowledgment, appreciation, and acceptance.” (Jonathan Robinson, Communication Miracles for Couples)
Whether you are in a new or decades-long relationship that is “Great!”, “Good”, or “Not sure I can take this anymore” – Communication Miracles for Couples is a book that can help you and your partner re-think your relationship.
The book is easy to read, and includes numerous examples and easy exercises to help couples understand each other better, and communicate on the same level. What makes this book stand out is that it isn’t just about communicating – it’s a book on understanding, relating to, and feeling compassion for your spouse. Without delving too deep into the reasons WHY we have the issues we do, the book’s author, Jonathan Robinson, helps us recognize how we can overcome them, or at least keep them from taking over our relationship.
The book is broken down into three main sections:
Fourteen short chapters include special focus areas such as: “What We All Want (But Never Ask For)”, “Would You Rather Be Right or Be Loved?”, “How to Get Your Partner to Really Hear You”, and “Repairing Broken Trust.” Each chapter includes key packets of wisdom, “Miracle Reminders” that summarize the main points from the chapter, and “Mastery Practice” exercises that help you put what you’ve read into practice. One of the most helpful, yet somewhat challenging, exercises is The Dynamite Dozen (Areas in which differing rules cause considerable problems). “I call these ares of potential disagreement the dynamite dozen because if you don’t discuss them, they tend to blow up in your face” says Robinson. He suggests that each partner go through and answer the twelve questions and then share and discuss your answers together. By doing this exercise, you find out what “rules” and expectations you have about important areas of your relationship. For each one, you ask yourself “What does it take, or what has to happen in order for me to feel good about…”
Answering those questions from your own perspective is not hard, but sharing them with your spouse… that can be a challenge – especially when you find differing views about things you thought you both agreed on!
A friend of mine said she and her partner read the book together instead of seeing a counselor. Each night, they set aside 1 hour and took turns reading from the book, discussing it, answering questions, and completing the exercises. They even made cue cards for each communication exercise so they could turn to them anytime there was a conflict. Within one week they recognized and were able to address some important issues in their relationship, and have created a more caring and harmonious household. While this may not be the ultimate answer for every couple, reading and (honestly) engaging in the exercises is likely to bring more clarity as to what you want, what you need, and how you feel.
If you are looking for ways to increase communication while getting to know your partner’s needs and expectations, try reading this book together – what you learn about yourself and your spouse may surprise you!