This practice can apply to how you interact with anyone, but in terms of how you operate in your marriage and how to communicate in a relationship, this advice is golden.
We all have a tendency to spend most of our time “listening” to someone else thinking about how we’re going to respond.
Rather than sitting back and taking in all the information coming our way, we find one word, phrase, or snippet of their dialogue and make decisions about what we’re going to shoot back their way.
Because of this, we don’t authentically hear everything that is said. If that’s the case, then our response may be lacking.
Next time you’re in the middle of a meaningful relationship conversation with your husband or wife, resist the urge to think about how to respond before they’re done talking.
Just sit back, listen, and actually hear what they have to say. Once you’ve done that, then respond accordingly.
2. Earlier rather than later
Don’t put off uncomfortable conversations. The reason that they are uncomfortable is that they probably need to happen.
If your husband isn’t holding his weight as a father, express your feelings in a constructive way. If your wife hasn’t been herself lately, and it’s negatively affecting your relationship, speak up.
The longer you let these conversations sit on the shelf, the more the issues will fester. Once you’ve identified a problem, and you feel that it needs to be addressed, take care of business.
3. Offer solutions, not problems
There are many ways of communication, and once you’ve decided that you need to have a serious chat with your spouse, make sure that you enter the conversation with a solution-oriented approach.
If you start the conversation by telling them how emotionally disconnected they are or how mean they’ve been but don’t offer any solutions, you’re doing both parties a disservice.
Picture this: a couple is in the middle of an argument when the wife tells the husband…
“You’re just not the same fun-loving man that I married.”
The problem is clearly stated, but there’s no solution to speak of. Two things are bound to happen now.
The husband will probably get offended or defensive. He may lash out with reasons why he’s not that way anymore, placing blame on his wife, and leveling up the toxicity of the conversation.
He also might retreat and close himself off, uninterested in addressing the issue.
In both cases, the problem that’s been stated will never be resolved. Voicing your issue with something is fine, but be prepared with what could be done to fix the problem.
Rather than just telling the husband that she’s unhappy about his dimmed personality, maybe she should suggest activities they can do together or create opportunities for the husband to rediscover old hobbies.
So another thing that you can gain from better communication skills is having a solution available to provide a new focus to the already uncomfortable conversation.
Otherwise, stating a problem without trying to help find a solution is just complaining.
The quality of your relationship will rely heavily on the standard of your stated expectations. Some of us make the mistake of thinking that certain aspects of a relationship “go without saying.”
If it’s not said aloud, then you can’t be upset if your partner doesn’t meet your expectations.
If you want to have kids, let it be known. If you don’t want to be cheated on, tell your partner. If you have certain beliefs about the details of your relationship, make your spouse aware.
Don’t be fooled by thinking, “They should know better.” If you haven’t made it clear, you have no ground to stand on when you get mad. Communication is key to establishing expectations in any relationship.
5. Don’t go to sleep mad at your spouse
There’s a certain residue that lingers after a disagreement. When you’ve chosen to spend your entire life with someone, you are bound to push each other’s buttons every once in a great while.
If you end up arguing close to bedtime, make sure that you resolve or find closure on the subject before you roll over and go to sleep.
This is one of the most vital relationship communication tips for you to keep in mind. Never go to sleep without resolving arguments. You don’t have to be happy with the result, necessarily, but you can’t be fuming.
Having that closure before you try to get some shut-eye, could make a huge difference in how the next day or so of your relationship will play out.
If you come to a respectful conclusion to your conversation, you’ll wake up with little to no resentment and be able to get back to a loving place that day.
If you don’t settle your differences before you close your eyes, you’re likely to wake up annoyed at your spouse, ready for round 2.
Do your marriage a favor and make it a rule to resolve your disagreements before you fall asleep. It would decrease the resentment that may follow the next day if you hadn’t reached a place of closure the night before.
The five relationship communication skills can actually help in strengthening the bond between the two of you. Try them and enjoy the difference.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.