You’ve probably heard before that communication is key to any marriage. It’s one of those things that gets said so much it also becomes a cliché – and like many cliches, it gets said so often because it’s true.
Lack of communication leads to frustration, resentment and fights, and can even lead to the breakdown of your marriage. When you learn to communicate well, you understand each other better, and it gets easier to resolve arguments and calm tensions.
Good communication is a must-have skill. Let’s dive deeper into how to communicate better with our 8 tips to communicate with your wife.
1. Learn to listen
We hear our partner talking all the time, but how often do we really listen? Hearing and listening are two very different things. If you find yourself drifting off, biting back anger at what your wife is saying, or planning what you want to say as soon as you spot an opportunity, you’re not really listening.
Learn to listen to what your wife says. Be attentive to the thoughts and feelings she’s expressing, both through her words and through her body language.
2. Set up a time out system
Discussions don’t have to continue unabated until you either reach a resolution or explode in a fight. Be mindful of how you’re feeling during a discussion, and ask your wife to do the same.
Agree on a word or short phrase either of you can say if you need a break, such a “stop”, “break”, “time out” or “cool off.” If either of you feels frustrated or on the verge of yelling or saying hurtful things, use your time out phrase and take a break till you feel calm again.
3. Mind the words you choose
Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” either had a very thick skin or had never been on the receiving end of a hurtful diatribe. The words you use make a difference – and once said they can never be unsaid, or unheard.
Think carefully about the words you choose when talking with your wife. Ask yourself whether what you’re about to say will help get your point across and further the discussion, or if it will only hurt or inflame. If it’s the latter, it might be time to use that time out phrase.
4. Ask if it really needs to be said
Honesty and openness are vital in any marriage, but that doesn’t mean you have to say everything that comes to your mind. Discretion is an important part of good communication.
If you want to say something that is born out of frustration, anger or just wanting to lash out, hold it back. Find another way to get it out, such as journaling, or even hitting a pillow or playing a vigorous round of sports.
5. Check you’ve understood what you heard
Take a moment to clarify what your wife just said to you, especially if you’re not sure you understood. Use this simple mirroring technique: After she finishes speaking, say “so what you’re saying is ….” and repeat what she said in your own words. This gives you the chance to check you understand, and gives her the opportunity to clarify.
Try asking follow-up questions such as “how does that make you feel?” or “what would help resolve this situation for you?” Feeling heard and validated is comforting for anyone, and promotes better understanding of each other.
6. Put yourself in her shoes
Think about what your wife is saying to you, and ask how that might make her feel. Of course the best person to ask about that is your wife, as discussed above, but it’s also helpful to imagine yourself in her shoes.
Take a few minutes and zero in on what’s happening and how your wife feels about it. Imagine what it would be like to be in her situation right now. Developing empathy will help you communicate better for the rest of your marriage.
7. Never yell
Yelling rarely brings about a good result. All it does is add aggravation and hurt to an already inflamed situation. If you really can’t resist the urge to yell, it’s time to take a time out and calm down before trying again.
Instead, try to speak in a calm, affectionate way, even when you’re angry. If you can’t do affectionate right now, at least aim for civil and caring. Your wife isn’t your opponent, and you don’t have to win her over to your point of view.
8. Try a different approach
Everyone communicates differently. If you’re not understanding your wife’s meaning, or she’s not understanding yours, try a different approach. Use an example or analogy, or try explaining in a different way.
You can even try writing your feelings down in a letter, or drawing a diagram or flow chart. It sounds funny, but it can really work, especially when you’re just not seeing eye to eye. Encourage your wife to do the same.
Communication skills will set you up for life and help your marriage survive and thrive. Start practicing better communication today – you might be surprised at how quickly you see a change in your relationship.