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Building strong relationships is essential for military couples, as they face unique challenges, such as deployments and the stress of combat. Effective communication is key to creating resilient relationships that can withstand these hardships. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of navigating expectations, the four danger signs of communication, and effective techniques to improve communication within military relationships.

Navigating Expectations in Relationships

Unmet expectations can often be the source of tension in relationships. Recognizing and addressing these expectations is important to maintain a strong bond. There are four types of expectations that can impact a relationship:

  1. Unaware expectations: These are expectations that we are not conscious of but may be pointed out by a partner. It is important to be open to discussing and adjusting these expectations as necessary.
  1. Unreasonable expectations: These expectations may not be realistic or achievable and can cause disappointment when they are not met. It is important to recognize an unreasonable expectation and adjust it accordingly.
  1. Unspoken expectations: These are expectations that we are aware of but have not communicated to our partner. Open communication is crucial to ensure that both partners are on the same page and can work together to meet each other’s expectations.
  1. Unmet expectations: These are expectations that have not been met, either due to a partner’s unwillingness or inability to meet them. Addressing these unmet expectations and working together to find a solution or compromise is important.

The Four Danger Signs of Communication

There are four danger signs of communication that can lead to a relationship crash if not addressed:

  1. Invalidation: This occurs when one partner dismisses or minimizes the feelings and thoughts of the other partner. It is important to validate each other’s feelings and perspectives to maintain a strong bond.
  1. Escalation: This occurs when a disagreement or conflict intensifies, often resulting in hostile or aggressive behavior. It is important to de-escalate conflicts and focus on finding a resolution rather than trying to “win” the argument.
  1. Withdrawal: This occurs when one partner disengages from the conversation or relationship, often to avoid conflict. It is important to remain engaged and committed to working through issues together.
  1. Defensiveness: This occurs when one partner becomes overly defensive in response to perceived criticism or attack. It is important to approach conversations with an open mind and willingness to listen and understand the other partner’s perspective.

Effective Communication Techniques

There are several techniques that can help improve communication within military relationships:

  1. Utilize the five love languages: Understand and speak your partner’s love language to effectively express your feelings and strengthen the bond between you.
  1. Practice active listening: Try to truly listen and understand your partner’s perspective rather than focusing on formulating your own response.
  1. Use “I” statements: Express your feelings and thoughts using “I” statements, which can help to reduce defensiveness and promote open communication.
  1. Take timeouts: If a conversation becomes heated, take a timeout to cool down and collect your thoughts. This can help prevent escalation and ensure that the conversation remains productive.

Effective communication is vital for building strong relationships, especially for military couples who face unique challenges. By understanding and navigating expectations, recognizing the four danger signs of communication, and utilizing effective communication techniques, military couples can create resilient connections and foster a secure bond.

If you want to learn more about communication skills, check out

Steve Riley

Certified Practice Advisor & Attorney

Steve Riley has coached attorneys for more than 20 years. His one-on-one coaching focuses on a limited number of top producing attorneys committed to taking their practices to new levels of excellence, profit, and personal success. He also presents at group coaching workshops around the country for individual law firms, state bar associations, and other legal organizations.

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