One of the characteristics of a relationship crisis is that the two people involved have a fixed pattern of communicating to each other that does not work. Exactly what the pattern is will vary from couple to couple, but the not working part is universal. In order to break out of the ineffective communication pattern you must do something different. Here are some suggestions as to what to try:
1. Whenever you talk together avoid saying things about your partner. Only say things about yourself. So rather than say “You are always threatening to leave ..” say something like “I am terrified of you leaving ..” You will notice that the second statement is a lot more disclosing and vulnerable than the first – and as such it will communicate better.
2. Take it in turns to talk. Do not interrupt each other. If you can use the Dyad format. When it is your turn to talk refrain from countering what your partner has just said; say something about yourself, your feelings and your fears.
3. If things get really difficult and you are still failing to understand each other then use Active Listening. This will slow down the discourse enormously, but will also dramatically increase your understanding of each other.
4. Once you are starting to make some progress then make use of the Relating Dyad. This will start to shift the energy between you and make it easier for you to hear and understand each other.