In our relationships, we have communication habits or patterns. We might finish off a partner’s sentence, or have certain topics that are no go areas, some of these communication patterns are cute and endearing, and some are unhealthy. Most are unwritten and unspoken about and they happen over and over again.
(It is especially noticeable when you catch up with a sibling you haven’t seen for a while, those childhood communication patterns come flooding back. I observed this with a friend of mine and his older sister who lives overseas, the moment they met they went into this prodding, tickling encounter, as an only child I thought this weird especially since they were in their 40’s, but that’s a communication pattern for you).
In my marriage, there became an obvious communication pattern.
If ever I wanted to give my husband feedback, this is what would happen:
I give husband feedback……. he counters by giving me feedback….. I apologise.
I realised he wasn’t taking any of my feedback on board and instead, he used attack as best form of defence and I was becoming way too subservient as a result, not healthy.
We chatted about this, and I expressed my frustration, and to his credit, he recognised the pattern we had fallen into.
As a result, we introduced, and both agreed to implementing, the ’24 hour rule’.
It’s very simple, the rule is, if we want to give our partner feedback, we preface it with;
‘this a ’24 hour rule’ conversation’
Which means for 24 hours, our partner cannot come back with feedback for us.
Let me tell you this rule works it forces the other person to think about the feedback they have received, of course, we all want positive feedback. Still, sometimes our nearest and dearest can have valuable things to say that can help us grow as a person, and we need to put ourselves in a position to hear that valuable feedback properly.