Dec. 22, 2020

Season 2 Ep.5 // Assertive Communication (Communicate Series - Part 5)

Season 2 Ep.5 // Assertive Communication (Communicate Series - Part 5)

You either listen with the intent to reply or with the intent to understand.

In part 5 of our Communicate Series. We break down what an aggressive communicator is and how to become an "Assertive Communicator".  We believe healthy communication is a learned skill and something that is essential to a fulfilling, successful, marriage.

The question of the day is: Do you communicate effectively??

Below is a link to the Love Language test by Gary Chapman.

Love Language Test

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If you want us to discuss something for a podcast.

Let us know at amplifiedmarriage@gmail.com

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Transcript
Bryan:

Welcome to another episode of amplified marriage. We are on season two, episode five in our final episode of our communicates here. Welcome to another episode of. Amplified marriage. I'm Brian, Natalie, wherever you are, as you hear us say, every single one of these episodes, we are so glad you could join us, but whatever you're doing, wherever you are, grab a coffee, have a seat. We are going to be having a great conversation today on our phones. Final piece of the communications style puzzle.

Natalie:

That's right. Casey miss last episode in our communication series, we unpacked the aggressive communicator and we gave some practical ways in dealing with that style. So today is the conclusion of the series. And we're talking about the most. This is the one we want to be talking about assertive communication.

Bryan:

This is the one, that's the healthy one. This is the one that we all want to aspire to be. And so you may have noticed all of you listeners that we've been gone for a couple of weeks. We are in BC and when our government locked us down again, I'm a pastor and everything, all the plans we had for Christmas and all it got a little bit extra. And so we appreciate your patience with us and your continued listening. As we know, people were still listening to the

Natalie:

podcast and sending us.

Bryan:

Emails and chatting with us. So we're glad that you kept on going. So today, as we already talked about, we are moving on to the assertive communication style.

Natalie:

That's right. We are aspiring, assertive communicators. I don't think, I don't think we've arrived a hundred percent yet.

Bryan:

We're doing some study on this. I don't even really think that I'm like

Natalie:

halfway there. I feel

Bryan:

like, I feel like 50% would be. It really high estimate of my abilities as an assertive communicator. Right.

Natalie:

I think half the battle to getting to assertive communicating is, is realizing the unhealthy pattern, blah, blah, blah, the unhealthy patterns of the previous three.

Bryan:

Right. And wherever you happen to land in those previous three communication styles. Yeah. Just know that those are unhealthy, that really they don't engage people around. You know, people don't want to, you know, tend to be around and all that kind of stuff as you're that kind of person or that kind of style. I think the most. The aggressive is the most damaging yeah. In the short term, because it's right in your face, it's usually right up front and it's kind of aggressive right away. Whereas the other two are kind of underlying. Yeah. They're a little bit more manipulative. And so the damage is there, but you may not, you may say something to me and I'd be like, Oh, yeah. And just walk away in 20 minutes. They were like, that hurt. Like she, I can't believe she did that

Natalie:

and don't get us wrong. Like while we were operating in those unhealthy styles, we thought we were operating healthily. If that's even a word, it's a word, we're making it a word.

Bryan:

It's a word.

Natalie:

Right. But you think that you're operating. In a healthy way. Right. And so, you know what you know?

Bryan:

Yeah. And we, you hear us say this all the time. You don't know what you don't know.

Natalie:

So you might have found out during the series that, Oh my goodness.

Bryan:

So

Natalie:

I communicate on healthy and ma that's our hope, I think is that it's eye opening. If you've not realized sort of where you fall and who knows after today, you might fall under assertive and just. High five yourself.

Bryan:

Yeah. Give her a five and then take that skill and teach someone else. I didn't do her self high five. Okay. So the assertive communication style is someone who has a firm grasp of their opinions of their feelings, how they are going to talk to someone. They realize that their rights and. What they believe, and their needs are just as important as the other person. And they're not, they don't want to violate the other persons, right. Or no.

Natalie:

And I think they have a really strong sense of who they are. Right. And their boundaries. Right. Which is. I mean, we can all aspire for that.

Bryan:

Like, yeah. They, they value themselves. The time that they have the purpose that they have their emotional, spiritual, physical needs, they, they, they know who they are. I like that, that that's right. They know who they are and they're willing to,

Natalie:

they advocate for themselves, but they also advocate for others. And so we'll, we'll kind of break this down as we go along give you some practical ways. That you can do that. Right.

Bryan:

And so like the core belief of the assertive communicator is that you matter. And so do I

Natalie:

equal

Bryan:

equal? So if you've been married for any length of time, I think you've heard us say this there's two times in your life when you realize you're the most selfish, right. When you first get married. And you have to live with your spouse. And then

Natalie:

when you have kids,

Bryan:

when you have kids. And so those are the two times you're going to realize how selfish you really are. And it is really, really challenging that when we're in a discussion, I'm wanting something and Natalie is actually diametrically opposed to whatever thing that I want to get into. She opposed to it for me in those moments when I'm angry, when I'm frustrated, when I'm feel like she's pushing all my buttons to actually feel like she matters in that, or, or opinion or belief of that situation matters in that moment. That makes sense. Yes. And it's a real challenge for someone who is direct, like I am and has a pattern, or has had a pattern of aggressive communication to Behave in that manner where you matter. And so do I,

Natalie:

it's hard because we want to be right.

Bryan:

Yeah.

Natalie:

Right. Like if we're getting down to the nitty-gritty of it, I don't know. I want my idea to win. Right? And so that is not the point of communicating is, is that there are two powerful people in the relationship. There are two equal powers in the relationship, there's you and there's me. And we both have that inner how do we say, like, Inner knowing that I know who I am. I know what my values are. I know what my boundaries are and, and being confident in that I can then accept. What you have to say as well and not feel threatened by it.

Bryan:

That's fair. So aggressive communicators, the way that they communicate, oftentimes it's going to, they're going to state the needs. Yep.

Natalie:

The assertive communicator. Let's clarify. Not aggressive.

Bryan:

I say aggressive again.

Natalie:

Yeah. We're an assertive for those of you.

Bryan:

So the assertive communicator will state their needs and their wants clearly, appropriately and respectfully to the other person.

Natalie:

Absolutely. Like that is the. The groundwork of communicating assertively, is that your tone is everything right? Right. Like how you and I are speaking right now.

Bryan:

I wish I could tell you that that's how our arguments are, is right now, how we're talking to each other, then this moment, and this is exactly how our fights,

Natalie:

well, then we wouldn't be fighting. We'd be discussing.

Bryan:

There's a difference. I'm just kidding. It's

Natalie:

cheeky tonight. Cheeky

Bryan:

assertive communicators express their feelings clearly appropriately respectfully. They use things like I statements. They communicate respect for us.

Natalie:

Yeah. Can we just talk about that? I statement I feel statements. Oh boy.

Bryan:

But I struggled with those.

Natalie:

If, if you say I feel like you're acting like a jerk. That's not an, a sort of way of communicating. That's, that's stating an opinion and that's a judgemental statement because you can take out the, I feel with, I think, yeah, I think you're a jerk. And so I think a caution when using I-statements is making sure that it's like, Hey, I feel scared when you do that. Or I feel scared when, and then whatever the event is, or I feel sad. Instead of saying, I feel like you are this.

Bryan:

Yeah. Yeah. So you're not, when you say, I feel like you, you're saying, I feel, you're saying an I statement, but instead of a naming, Hey, I feel sad in this. You're actually stating the opinion about what I'm doing. Right. I feel like you are being a jerk. You're not stating the F the emotion of me. I am standing

Natalie:

at punitive. I think you're a jerk, but, but do you see, do you see how that, how that can. I think you're a jerk. I feel like you're a jerk, right? Oh, it seems less. But you're saying the same thing.

Bryan:

The thing about an assertive, assertive communicator, not an aggressive communicator, assertive is that assertive communicator will take accountability and responsibility for their actions, their thoughts, their emotions, how they respond, how they talk, how they yeah. They receive how I receive your anger and how I respond to you is my responsibility, not yours. Right? And so if we can go with that, their core belief is that you met her. And so do I, that means that I'm taking accountability for my actions and moving forward. And I'm not blaming you when you say something and I'm responding to you in anger or bitterness or frustration yelling, I'm responsible for my actions.

Natalie:

Absolutely. Right. And I think then you can communicate respectfully with each other.

Bryan:

Yeah. And you listen. Well, With an assertive communicator. He's a good listener and interrupt you. Right. And what's the, there's a,

Natalie:

and we've all been in those conversations,

Bryan:

right? Just like you interrupted right there. Is that what happened in there listening? Well,

Natalie:

we've all been, yes. We've all been in those conversations where you're, you're really having a moment and you can like the other person's tuned out.

Bryan:

Oh, yeah.

Natalie:

Right. Cause they're, they're thinking of how they're going to

Bryan:

respond. And that brings me into what I was going to say. Is it, you listen with the intent to respond, not with the intent to understand. So you listen well without interrupting, you feel in control of yourself. Again, that comes back to the accountability of who

Natalie:

and knowing, and being confident in yourself and being able to assert yourself authority like authoritatively, not in an aggressive way, but just, Hey, I know who I am. Right. And I know what I'm willing to tolerate and what I'm not willing to

Bryan:

well, and it comes back to two. This thing is, has made good eye contact. If we read back or even go back to some of the study that we've done for passive, passive. Aggressive and aggressive communicators aggressive aside from aggressive. Aggressive will look you in the eyes, but they're using it to train you kind of lower your guard,

Natalie:

passive. Well, not look, they

Bryan:

struggled to look you in the eyes. I'm passive aggressive or passive communicator, struggled to look in the eyes. They won't make eye contact. It's really, really a challenge. So they look well, assertive communicator will look in the eye. They'll speak in calm and a clear tone of voice. Right. And, and there we're going to communicate even keel

Natalie:

that's right. Because you're on an equal playing field.

Bryan:

Right,

Natalie:

right. There's not one that's higher up. Right. You know, in the relationship you're both,

Bryan:

you mean me? I mean,

Natalie:

a side-by-side. And I think having relaxed body posture, and you can tell if somebody's got their defenses up or you can tell if you're having a conversation with somebody and they're really like,

Bryan:

I can definitely tell when I've

Natalie:

sure if you've ruffled my feathers.

Bryan:

Well, even what was it this morning? Like we were having a fun morning, joking and laughing. I said, there's a winter advisory. And we have a thing that we have to do tomorrow night. And you immediately, you don't like driving on any of those roads. And instead of just being like, well, You know, I understand what you're feeling. I feel like you don't know what I know. I mean, but you know what I mean? Like,

Natalie:

like you were talking about how you responded to that. I didn't respond to you kind of bulldozed.

Bryan:

I bulldozed T-Rex there. Yeah. And she immediately went into a I'm gonna punch you in the face posture and anger, and then stomped out of the room angrily. And I apologized immediately, which is another thing, even though you've apologized doesn't mean that what you did has any less sting and you need to give the other person's space.

Natalie:

That's right. And I appreciate that about you now. Just give me space

Bryan:

because it used to be that I would just Badger, even though I knew I was the meatball, right. That did the wrong thing. I wa I was in such a head space to be aggressive. I'm like, I need you to tell me mostly because I wanted to respond with the intent to reply, not to, to understand anything. I didn't care about understanding. I just wanted to make my point no

Natalie:

bottom line. We messed up an opportunity to be assertive this morning is what we're getting at. So we're still learning

Bryan:

on the date before this recording goes live. This is what happened.

Natalie:

Exactly. Right. So don't, don't beat yourself up, right? We're still, we're on a journey, right? To this communication style.

Bryan:

You want to go through some of the other points?

Natalie:

Yeah. We feel competent and in control, there's nothing worse than having a conversation and feeling. Totally out of control emotionally. Even that your boundaries are not being respected can feel really awful. So be mindful of that. For those of you that aren't operating in that state, they don't allow others to abuse or manipulate them. Because they stand up for their rights. And I think that right there, you've heard us say like, you know, we're not doormats or that kind of a thing. And I think an assertive person knows full well, their rights, their needs, their wants their emotional state. And they're able to communicate that clearly and really pick up on when someone's. Abusing or manipulating them in one of the other styles that that's not okay.

Bryan:

Right? Yeah, absolutely.

Natalie:

So what would be the benefit of developing a pattern of assertive communication?

Bryan:

Well, think about all the times that you've disagreed, even with someone that you're close with, not me. Someone else. Yeah. If you think about how culture exists now in the world that we're living in, where it's pro-choice or pro-life, or it's conservative versus liberals, we can't actually have discussion anymore. Right. So what we're advocating for as like a marriage is we're advocating for it. You can disagree, right. And still come away. Being friends and being lovers and being husband and wife. But whatever trying to say is that because of everything that's going on and how easy it is for to us too. To argue and just move apart from each other. There's no connection, right when you're actually fighting, but not, not, not engaging in communication, not engaging in discourse, not trying to figure out the problem, not trying to

Natalie:

like in an unhealthy way.

Bryan:

In an unhealthy way, and you're not trying to do that, but if you're working on being an assertive communicator, one of the biggest things that you get are that you get to feel connected to the other person because you've worked through an issue. Right? You're you feel like you're connected, you feel like you're in control. Like you say, you want the other person to feel also like they're in control.

Natalie:

And they do, because again at that you're on level playing fields, right? I'm a powerhouse, you're a powerhouse and we have values and needs and wants and emotions and thoughts that are valued. And so, because I value myself and I value those things within myself, I can value those things within you.

Bryan:

And if you are both working on doing your best to be an assertive communicator, like all that's happened in our relationship over the last 20 years, plus that we've been together is that

Natalie:

we've grown so much,

Bryan:

but you grow and mature in the relationship with each other. And you, you learn to shed unwanted or UN necessary or unhealthy communication styles.

Natalie:

Right?

Bryan:

To be better and grow and mature

Natalie:

that's right. And addressing them. Yep. Helps you do that.

Bryan:

Yeah. And yeah. Addressing them and actually facing them head on actually makes a difference. Right? Yeah. So you create an environment where you're, you're giving the other person whether or not it's your spouse, it's your best friend. It's someone at work. Yeah. The ability to grow and be mature in the relationship.

Natalie:

Right.

Bryan:

And so the way that we we see in some of our study has yielded is that the assertive communicator will say or believe or behave in a way that says we are equal in this. We're entitled to our own opinions. We're entitled to, to what we believe. And we can do that respectfully with each other. That's right. And that's in the marriage relationship in particular.

Natalie:

Absolutely. And it's not like we communicate not, not to come to like an agreement, not all the time. Right. We communicate to come to an understanding. Right, right. It's not like, well, I, I will beat this issue to death until you agree with my point of view. Right. That's not the end goal. The end goal is to come to an understanding, like I matter. And so do you, my thoughts matter. And so do yours.

Bryan:

Yeah, right. And you're coming to depend to just whatever the decision is. And you're not often, I can't even remember anytime in 19 years and maybe it's just being married that we've, we've had a big decision. We've had to make where at the end of it, we still disagreed, but we still went ahead with one thing or the other.

Natalie:

You're saying you can't

Bryan:

think of a time. Remember?

Natalie:

I can't remember a time either

Bryan:

for maybe when I was starting the two businesses.

Natalie:

Okay. But that's, that's different. I feel because that was like, all right. I, I agreed with the start-up of the bill, the business I didn't necessarily agree who it was with.

Bryan:

Right. But we still went ahead. And even though there wasn't a comp and it's not the, yeah. Let's start the business, but you didn't really agree with maybe who it was doing with, but you were willing to move forward with it. And that's where the agreement came into place. I don't like the end goal was here. There's a few things in between that

Natalie:

you understood. Like, I, I vocalized my concerns. And then at the end when it sort of fizzled out there wasn't a blaming, well, you know,

Bryan:

You could have told me,

Natalie:

right. And there wasn't on my end going to you and saying like, well, this is your fault because you know, you, I sh I shared a concern. You just went ahead and did it, do you know what I mean? It was like, we're in this together when the decision together. And if it, if it falls flat, we're still in it together. Yeah, for sure. Right. So, yeah, I'm a firm believer in that, on, on big decisions because it's such a, such a sneaky way. For that to cause a huge riff. Yeah. I mean, I think had I vocalized it had really big concerns. I don't, I think you would have respected that.

Bryan:

Yeah. I think, yeah, absolutely. I would have. And so the assertive communicator they behave again, I believe in a way that says there were both agree and to express our opinions respectfully, they speak clearly, honestly, to the point I can't control others. This is my favorite. I can't control others, but I can control myself.

Natalie:

Yeah. We said it. I don't even know how many times now of you are responsible for you. I am not responsible for your thoughts and your behaviors, your responsible for that. And I think it takes some pressure off

Bryan:

well, or it adds a layer of pressure here. Follow, follow my thought. Many times when we've been coaching couples one or both at some point in the relationship say I'm doing all this changing, but the other person isn't, and they're not changing fast enough, or I did this and they didn't recognize it. Right. Oftentimes when we're coaching couples, it's not because they're, they came to us in the first year of marriage was like, Hey, we want, we want to be, you know, we want to be a healthy marriage and we want to make sure things are going good. And they're coming to us because they've been together for five, 10, 15, 20 years. And they're just like, we got to work some stuff out. We're struggling to communicate. And so there's layer upon layer upon layer, upon layer of compounded wounds that couples have. Done to each other over the last 20 years, 15 years, whatever the time may be. Right. And we have to sometimes unwind. And then when the changes don't happen fast enough, one or both are almost willing to throw in the towel because it didn't go in their timeline of how something should,

Natalie:

but that still doesn't deflect from that statement of, I can't control others.

Bryan:

Right.

Natalie:

But I can control myself. And when you're in the thick of trying everything under the sun to get the behavior to change or to get there, to be some kind of progress that you can visibly see. Yeah. It's really, it's a really hard shift to be like, I can't control the other person, nothing I do. Whether I'm I'm subliminally sending these messages or I'm manipulating the. The way that we're talking to get an outcome that I desire bottom line, I cannot control you. Right? I am. I can only control myself. I can control what I say, how I say it, what my thoughts are, what my boundaries are.

Bryan:

And,

Natalie:

and I can't, I can't,

Bryan:

and you can,

Natalie:

I can vocalize that, but I can't control you with that, if that makes sense. Right.

Bryan:

And I think a lot of people. That are in, in that area. And maybe you're listening today, you're in that area where you're trying to control the other person because you did good.

Natalie:

Right. And then manipulate, because again, this is a, this is a vicious cycle of, okay. I was good for one day. Okay. But that, that, like, I think I've said to you, I'm, I'm positive. I've said to you, like, do you want an award for that? You went, you were good for this one

Bryan:

day gold star. You want

Natalie:

a gold star? Do you want a gold star? Do you want a sticker? Like really? That just erases the. 18 years prior to this. Yeah. These were the kinds of conversations that we had. Right. Because we could not figure out a healthy way of talking to each other about that and bringing up those issues. And those hurts in a, in a respectful way.

Bryan:

Right. Yeah, absolutely. And so in again,

Natalie:

I place a high priority on having my rights respected

Bryan:

and, and the we've even had conversations with family members even. And I think you've said to me, he said, Brian, if you can't talk to me properly, we're not going to have this conversation because there's been a few times where I've just been so like

Natalie:

irritated.

Bryan:

Frustrated or angry that I just was. I wasn't, I never really personal with like, I'm calling you names or poking it. No, but I get really heated. And you don't like that?

Natalie:

No, you get you, you yell like loudly. I know you say that you're passionate.

Bryan:

I talk loudly because I'm passionate,

Natalie:

but

Bryan:

I don't think that I'm yelling,

Natalie:

but you just talk really loudly. I think you're yelling. I feel as though it's yelling,

Bryan:

I feel as though you don't know what you're talking about,

Natalie:

but yes, I have said that

Bryan:

of absolutely. I'm

Natalie:

willing to have this conversation

Bryan:

when you're

Natalie:

stir you lower your voice.

Bryan:

Yeah, because I was, but I was, I was getting ready to do this to go next level. Yeah. Yeah.

Natalie:

And so I, and I think again, knowing, knowing myself now I can choose not to engage in that. Right. Right. The choice is mine. I have choices and I can weigh my options.

Bryan:

Right. And the, one of the things that we said I'm a hundred percent responsible for your own happiness. It's not up to your spouse to make you happy.

Natalie:

No, and that's another tough pill to swallow for, for a lot of our years of, of trying to find. That in you, right? Like that, like you complete

Bryan:

me or give me a break.

Natalie:

It's, it's really damaging

Bryan:

movies and romcoms are out there that have steered young couples awry on their journey into love and relationships because the romcoms are so unrealistic.

Natalie:

Right. In every facet. Right.

Bryan:

And yeah, even when they try and make it seem like it's realistic, they just, they blow it.

Natalie:

That's right. And I think if you're in a place of woundedness yeah. Then you will watch something like that and you will then think that's what I want. You, you want that because we all want to be known and we all want to be loved. And so then you can deflect on and project onto your spouse. Like, why can't you be like that?

Bryan:

Well, and what is it? Hurt people, hurt people. Right? And so

Natalie:

I am responsible for my own happiness.

Bryan:

So being an assertive communicator allows us to take care of ourselves and is good mental health. And it brings healthy relationships where you feel connected and you feel loved. What's something that we say we've said before, maybe not on the podcast, but we said this before People want to be fully known and fully loved and fully known. They know everything about you fully loved means even in your deepest, darkest secrets, they still love you, but they know you, they know it and they still love you. And so people, and so in, in your marriage relationship, that's the closest, at least I'm hoping that is one of the closest relationships that you have. Like human relationships that you have. If you're married, that that's the closest one that you have, because that's the one that's going to be cheering you on, wanting the best for you. Moving your life forward with you. You're doing everything together, decisions together, living life together, raising kids together, all of that. That should be one of the closest relationships you have not. You're married. And it's your best guy? No, your wife doesn't know what's going on. Your husband has no idea what's going on. That's so good. So what did you, you wanted to share something

Natalie:

with throughout this whole series we've been referencing Danny Silk's book, keep your love on, if you do not have the book, I highly recommend you buy it. Right. He, I just wanted to read a little excerpt from his book, which I think just sums it up beautifully. So we had talked about the core belief of a assertive communicator is that you matter? And so do I. It says, this is the core value of honor and mutual respect. This is the value assertive communicators protect as they interact with others. And I think that is so that's a gold nugget right there, a powerful, assertive communicator response to a passive person with what are you going to do about it has remember the passive one doesn't have any needs, have any rights doesn't have like. I just, ER, is a passive communicator, right? Like boo hoo. Right. I am a recovering passive communicator and a sort of communicator will respond to an aggressive person with, I can only talk with you when you decide to be respectful,

Bryan:

right.

Natalie:

Again, right. In a calm way, they respond to a passive aggressive person with, we can talk later when you choose to be responsible and tell me what is really going on. Cause remember they candy, they kind of dance around the issues, right. And manipulate their way. In other words assertive communicators are able to set consistent boundaries around a conversation so that it stays respectful and they require both participants to equally participate in pursuing the goal of the conversation. I thought that was so good.

Bryan:

That's really good. That's really good. Well, this ends our five week series on communicate the four different communication styles. If you're listening to this podcast, you can't ever use that excuse. Oh, I didn't know. You've learned some new things,

Natalie:

some new skills,

Bryan:

some new skills. Take this back to your spouse, your boyfriend, your girlfriend

Natalie:

got some tools in the toolbox

Bryan:

and just use them to help grow and mature your relationship. And yeah. Begin your relationship with a good pattern or start. In your relationship that you've been married for 20 years with some new patterns, because the old ones weren't working in causing you frustration. And if those of you that are communicating well, that's amazing. Go find someone to help that needs, if everyone knows someone that needs a little bit of help maybe just learning how to communicate a little bit differently. And so we really We're glad that we were able to share this with you. If you have been enjoying this podcast and we sure know that you have been, it means a lot to us when you share it, let people know about the amplified marriage podcast. You can follow us on Instagram and on Facebook. If there is, we say this all the time and we be getting a few of these topics slowly coming in. If there's something you want us to share, there's something that you want us to talk about. There's something you want us to break or something that we said that you disagree with. We'd love to be able to hear from you and communicated. You can email us@amplifiedmarriageatgmail.com. And as you hear us. All the time we believe that marriage can be reset, recharged and restored. Thank you so much for listening.

Natalie:

We want to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Bryan:

Merry Christmas.