An open exchange of emotion, desires, and beliefs is the true hallmark of effective communication with your spouse. However, having effective communication with your spouse can seem like a daunting task to learn.
Looking back, try to remember a time when each of you communicated with one another very fluidly.
It was as if you were the same person – like you could read each other’s minds.
While marriage does not change the ability to communicate with the person you love, it can incorporate additional stresses.
Instead of being carefree in a budding, romantic relationship, you find yourselves drudging through the mundane day-to-day chores, leading to a lack of effective communication in marriage.
As you age and grow in your marriage, the ways in which you talk and act can alter; it is important to continue to learn about yourself and your spouse in order to adapt to these changes and facilitate healthy couples communications.
Marriage thrives on healthy marriage communication
Equipping yourself with the right set of relationship communication skills is a prerequisite to enjoying a stronger love bond and healthy communication with your spouse.
Try the following pointers on effective communication with your spouse alongside communication counseling.
Regardless of your age or the length of your relationship, following these communication tips for couples and steps of effective communication can go a long way in maintaining a happy relationship.
Everything you need to know about learning to communicate effectively
1. Listen to your spouse
Many of us do not listen to understand what the other person is saying; most will listen in order to respond.
Rather than trying to know how your spouse is feeling or what they are thinking, you may find yourself considering what you plan to say next.
Playing defensive can be instrumental in the breakdown of communication between spouses. Instead of routinely considering how you will present your own information, take out time to actively listen to your spouse.
On how to communicate effectively with your spouse, be intentional about how you are presenting yourself in the conversation and engage with your spouse in conversation.
It is easy to become lax and reduce your awareness of body language and other nonverbal cues, but they will not be missed by your spouse!
Crossed arms, avoidant eye contact, the “silent treatment,” and eye-rolling, while not verbal, communicate a clear message to your spouse.
Be sure to use body posture and gestures that indicate you are listening and are fully invested in what your significant other has to say. That is one of the relationship communication tips that couples can follow to enjoy a healthy marriage.
You may not be in agreement, but appropriate words, tone of voice, and body language can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of what is being communicated.
3. Understand how your spouse communicates
Listening and giving the appearance of investment are important, but so is understanding how your partner communicates.
Is your spouse one who takes time to think of what he or she wants to say before actually saying it?
Does your spouse become quiet when angry? Do you know when your partner may need space before proceeding with the conversation?
It is vital to take into consideration how your spouse chooses to communicate; if waiting to have the conversation is appropriate and is what your partner needs, then by all means wait!
If there is something about the way your spouse communicates that is incompatible with your methods, take time when you are engaged in positive and healthy communication before discussing how a compromise could be made.
4. Practice patience
No one likes to work on their level of patience! But it is one of the most required communication skills for couples that people in relationships need to cultivate.
Being mindful of the needs of others may come easy for you, but this does not mean being patient with your spouse is just as simple!
Living with someone day in and day out can at times become very frustrating. Your husband forgot to take out the trash on trash day; your wife did not buy the ice cream you asked for when she went grocery shopping; your husband forgot to pay the electric bill before it was due.
It is not difficult to become frustrated or even angry about things like these – it is vital to use those moments to take a deep breath and practice patience.
One aspect of working on communication skills in a relationship involves cultivating patience and not thrusting stressful conversations on our partners.
Relationships need a strong presence of patience and appreciation for the virtues of each other.
Communication between couples can improve by manifold if both partners learn how to have more patience in their relationship.
There may have been something preventing your spouse from doing what needed to be done or what was asked of them.
Wait until you are able to have a calm conversation with your spouse; do not approach in anger but rather from a place of understanding. Life happens!
5. Be mindful of your words
Above all else, be mindful of the words you choose to use when talking with your husband or wife.
Words have power!
You can either speak life and positivity into your spouse or tear your partner down by berating and belittling with negative words.
Words can hurt or they can heal – you are the one who chooses what your words are capable of doing.
If you wish to have effective communication with spouse and avoid unnecessary squabbles over trivial matters, you need to be mindful of what you say and the words you choose to convey your message to your partner.
Why communication skills therapy can be the answer
If you feel you are unable to let go of poor communication habits in your relationships, here are some effective couple exercises for communication that will help you navigate the challenges of marital communication and foster healthy marriage communication.
However, sometimes you need professional expertise in keeping track of where you go wrong in maintaining effective communication with your spouse.
Seeking the help of a marriage therapist can help you in identifying the roadblocks to healthy marriage communication and get the right tools in place on how to communicate effectively in a relationship.
You can benefit largely by seeing a counselor who specializes in marriage counseling or couples therapy as they make you undergo couples therapy exercises for communication, and provide you a safe place to have the conversations that need to be addressed.
By improving communication skills in a relationship you will learn to circumvent potential spats, disconnection in relationships and move toward coming together and not going further apart.
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.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.