If you answered "YES" to ANY of the test questions, then I’m confident the communication with your partner (or future partner) can be improved significantly. But don’t feel bad, not many people pass this test. In fact, I designed the test as a way to call attention to the life-alienating communication we all use in our relationships.

Look...I'm not going to sugarcoat the real challenges in relationships by dangling a bunch of pretty-sounding, happily-ever-after ideals that you can do in five minutes.

I am, though, going to honestly share what I've learned from personal experience and years of coaching hundreds of couples.

Whatever solutions I do offer, please be forewarned: they will not be instant microwavable transformation-in-a-box solutions. They might be uncomfortable to hear, and will take time and require effort to implement, but ultimately...they'll be worth the investment when you begin to experience being listened to, while enjoying the ease that comes with a deeper connection in your relationship.

Are you up for the challenge?

First, I want to offer you some understanding about how ineffective communication gets stacked up in layers and feeds an ongoing conflict loop. I'll tease these apart into understandable layers and then share some REALISTIC things you can do to break out of this cycle. Okay, here we go...

The Three Layers of Ineffective Communication. How They Drain The Loving Connection From Your Relationship

Take a moment to think back to any conflict, issue, or problem you had with your partner. Did communication between the two of you play a major role either as the contributing cause of the problem or the inability to resolve it? I bet it did.

If your partner communicated in harsh ways, I'm guessing you felt hurt, anger, or fear because you wanted to be spoken to in a more respectful way. Perhaps you then responded to this with anger or shut down.

If you have communicated in harsh ways, afterwards, you might have felt disappointed, guilty or even go into self blame. You get upset at yourself for saying things you regretted. Your partner either responds to this with anger or shuts down.

So the WAY you communicate with each other in conflict is one layer of conflict itself!

Whether it's you or your partner that spoke harshly, whatever issues or problems you were discussing will not get resolved at all or will not get resolution in a way that both can feel good about. That's the second layer.

There was a time when I couldn't effectively resolve conflict; resentments started to build up in me. When conflicts didn't change, I gave up by shutting down emotionally and I pretended like it didn't matter. As much as I tried to pretend, I couldn't help but feel hurt and powerless which came out sideways in the form of blaming anger. This just added to the pile of existing problems.

When there is no effective way to resolve conflict, it is only a matter of time before couples begin to feel hopeless that things can be different. They either keep fighting the same fight over and over again, or silently endure while running on the fumes of hope that something is going to change. This is the third devastating layer.

Add these three layers up and do the relationship math:

Having issues or conflicts in a relationship plus...

not being able to communicate about them effectively plus...

feeling powerless to change them or hopeless that they will change, equals

zero chance of your having a rich and fulfilling relationship.

What I'm describing to you here could happen quickly where couples lock horns early in the relationship, or it could happen slowly, imperceptibly over many years with one small resentment at a time. Whether fast or slow, I hope you can see that ongoing ineffective communication keeps you from getting what you truly want...and that is just not sustainable in my book.

Why? Because this layered effect can happen with any one or all of the important issues below and be a constant source of ongoing resentment.

    • Money Issues (how much is made and spent, who spends it on what)
    • Sexual Differences (frequency, ways to satisfy, decreases in sexual desire or drive, and fidelity)
    • Communication (not enough, the way it is done)
    • Time Spent Together (amount of time, quality of time, who to spend it with)
    • Intimacy Issues (emotional intimacy, availability differences)
    • Lack of Commitment (follow-through with agreements)
    • Children and Step Children Issues (how to raise)
    • Unequal Need Fulfillment (one partner getting all their needs met at the expense of their partner)
    • Jealously and Control Issues (insecurities)
    • Household Chores (who does what, fairness)
    • Families and In-laws (conflicts, personalities, etc)

Can you imagine feeling powerless or hopeless to be heard or understood with any of the issues above? Believe me, it just isn't workable. Obviously ineffective communication can wreak havoc in many areas of a relationship.

So what do we do?

Well, I've come up with five crucial awarenesses that will transform the communication in your relationship where you'll be able to resolve conflicts and stay connected. Whether you take advantage of the Compassionate Communication Course I offer or not, I truly wish that you take these to heart and support yourself in doing something different.

I invite you to read this important piece about the five crucial awarenesses that will cut through these layers of communication conflict and transform the communication in your relationship.