The most common words heard in a counselor’s office are “We just don’t communicate well.” That is typically when a therapist states the three rules of healthy communication: No name-calling, no yelling, and know when to take a time-out. However, easier said than done! So, why do couples break the communication rules? Communication rules fail when there is a lack of trust or imbalance in the relationship. It is very difficult to stop yelling about your finances if your partner is insisting they are going to pay for a vacation with a new credit card as soon as they get to work tomorrow. It is difficult to stop calling names if your partner has changed the password to your bank account and they refuse to talk to you now. In each case you feel there is impending disaster that can possibly be avoided if you can force your partner to see your side of the issue. You may feel that if you fail to get your partner’s attention they are going to violate you financially, humiliate you, or use you. However, on the other hand, if you have trust that when the conversation gets heated, you both will lower your voice, remind each other not to call names and continue to seek a solution until it is resolved, or agree to take a break until you have time to return to the conversation, you don’t mind following the rules. You trust there will be no violations while on the break. The key to this working is that you and your partner have a trusting relationship with shared power. There are plenty of self-help sites that can give you rules for communicating, but without trust and balance they quickly fail. If this is a problem area for you and your partner, give us a call, we’d love to help.