Level Five Communication: Emotions and Needs

Most couples realize that positive communication is a necessary component of a successful marriage. But, knowing how to communicate effectively in a relationship is not a skill that comes naturally to many. The first thing that must be recognized in order to develop better communication is that there are various, progressive levels. Each level is important and has its place. But deeper degrees of bondedness and intimacy is only achieved at the higher levels of communication.

Before describing level five communication, here’s a summary of the other levels. Level one involves discussing facts and information. Among other things, this is necessary in marriage to deal with the logistics of daily life. [See related article.] Level two deals with conversing about ideas of others. While not overly personal, this is more abstract, compelling and memorable, and, therefore, an important step to relationship building. [See related article.]

Level three is more personal in that it involves communicating views and opinions about various issues and topics. [See related article.] Level four is even more personal as it deals with sharing personal information. At this level people may discuss their personal history, experiences, likes and dislikes, and so forth. [See related article.]

Finally, level five is the deepest and most intimate level of verbal communication. As such, it has the highest degree of risk and vulnerability. But, there is also the greatest potential for reward for greater intimacy and connectedness between partners. Level five communication deals with sharing feelings, emotions and needs. This involves free expression of one’s innermost self.

Some immediately think that this level is tantamount to exchanging affectionate, verbal expressions of passion and love. Although this may play a role, level five communication entails much more. Sharing goals, regrets, triumphs, failures, and other personal feelings about life experiences is certainly involved. But it also includes investigating the emotional and intimate needs one has as an individual and as a partner in marriage.

It is not easy to achieve level five communication for a few different reasons. Feelings and emotions are not always logical and simple to convey. Some couples do not feel “safe” in discussing such issues because they feel it may invoke defensive, critical, or judgmental reactions.

Some also tend to feel a need to resolve issues or fix problems that they perceive surfacing from this type of communication. Not only is this not the goal, but it can be invalidating and counterproductive. Instead, the main tasks of level five communication are simply free expression, being present in the moment, active listening, and attempting to understand and empathize with one another.

Articles in this series:

Levels of Communication (Introduction)
Level One: Facts and Information
Level Two: Ideas of Others
Level Three: Your Own Ideas
Level Four: Personal Information
Level Five: Emotions and Needs
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...