Communication And Listening For Understanding

Communication And Listening For Understanding

There are ways to communicate effectively so that marital conflicts may be defined, addressed, and worked through.  You are not defeated in your marriage, remember keep Hope in your marriage.  With marital conflict resolution, you can return to your status quo (what is normal in the marriage pre-conflict), or create an improved new normal.

Negative thoughts you may have about your spouse since a perceived negative situation occurred:

  • I am tired of this I am done
  • My spouse does not listen
  • My spouse is getting on my nerves
  • I would be better off alone
  • I don’t care
  • I wish my spouse would be quiet
  • This is the last time
  • My spouse doesn’t trust me anyway
  • Why should I
  • I don’t trust my spouse

Additionally, you may think my spouse is lazy, my spouse works too much, my spouse is selfish, my spouse is not helpful, my spouse is never home, my spouse needs friends, or my spouse needs a hobby.  Negative thoughts may lead to negative feelings about your spouse such as:

  • I feel betrayed
  • I feel lonely
  • I feel devalued
  • I feel frustrated
  • I feel anxious
  • I am bored in this relationship
  • I feel disconnected from my spouse
  • I feel ashamed

Negative feelings may lead to negative reactions that have negative consequences. Don’t let your negative feelings move you to hasty reactions.  Take some time out to regroup before reacting.

There is a process that can be modeled.  Define status quo in the relationship, what changed and made things imbalanced?  Since this change what negative thoughts and feelings are you having?  

Now it is time to intervene and take a closer look at the issue at hand.  Check your attitude and regroup so you are in a willful mode.  Remember the rules no name calling, blaming, or shaming when speaking to your spouse.  Keep your tone of voice leveled.  Be mindful of your body language.  How you and your spouse RELATE (in this case relate will refer to empathizing) and communicate determines if your issue will be resolved.


  • Relevance of issue at hand.
  • End the cycle of negative behavior patterns, and get the negative thoughts out of your head.
  • Lose your negative attitude (remember hope) when addressing your negative feelings.
  • Acknowledge that with work, things will get better by intervening in the negative thoughts. Give nurturing statements to your partner.
  • Take time to communicate effectively that you will do your part.  Discuss mutual expectations, desires, rules, roles, and goals vulnerably.
  • Empathize with your partner (see things from their point of view) as you begin to discuss the issues and how they are affecting you both.  

You looked at the way things were before the incident.  You acknowledged that a negative situation occurred and changed things.  You remembered to RELATE and shift your negative thinking.  You laid out your experience from the situation or incident and how this made you feel.  While you spoke, your partner listened for understanding (active listening not listening to interject).  You are now beginning to communicate effectively.  You switch and it is now your partner’s turn to speak.  You finished discussing your thoughts, and feelings since the incident.  You both acknowledged how you were impacted as a couple.  Now intervene and develop a new status quo together that entails your yearnings, desires (desired outcome), expectations, positive feelings, coping, and behavior.  Continue to practice using your marital conflict resolution skills.  Congratulations on your willful work in your marriage applying your skills and making positive changes.

Janelle is an experienced psychotherapist, she established Life Balance Counseling private practice in Aurora, Colorado August 2011. She works with a vast population. She specializes in anxiety, grief, loss, ADHD, and relationship conflict. She guides clients so they may achieve balance in their lives by accessing resources, fostering healthy relationships, managing stress, using healthy coping skills, sustaining self-worth, and value. She completed her master’s degree in Counseling from Regis University. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, Rho Upsilon Chi- Chi Sigma Iota, and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce.

More by Janelle Johnson

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