Good marriages are built on a multi-storied foundation. There are physical, spiritual, intellectual connections. There are friendship and mutual respect elements.
There is the sense that your spouse always has your back and is the person you can be completely yourself with.
And, most importantly, tying all of this together is a strong sense of communication in marriage. Because for all of these different building blocks to lead to a happy relationship, the communication channel has to be strong and open.
As you sensing, this might not be the case in your marriage? Are you looking to learn how to communicate in a relationship in order to salvage your marriage?
Being able to communicate with your spouse is one of the essential keys to a healthy marriage. Without communication, you may as well be roommates. You need to be able to speak together about all topics, good or bad.
Anyone who has been through a divorce will say that they knew their marriage was in trouble when they had no interest in having a conversation with their spouse.
Communication had broken down so much that they didn’t see the point in trying to work things out anymore.
If you are at the stage in your relationship where you think your marriage communication is not where it should be, there are techniques you can learn to improve communication, and as a result, improve your marriage.
Dedicate time to be present for each other, every single day
Did you know that in the average busy household, couples spend only 20 minutes communicating with each other?
And that type of couple communication is usually limited to “Did you pick up milk as I asked you to? Or “Sasha needs some help with her science project tonight. Can you help her?”
The typical family, with working parents and school-aged children, has lots of distractions. Television, computers, and smartphones are part of those distractions. In order to carve out some time where you and your spouse can really sit and talk with each other, unplug.
Once the kids are in bed, make it a point to take at least half an hour to sit on the couch together, hold hands, and share what your day was like, what your future projects are, and how you are feeling about each other — express gratitude for one thing that happened to you that day.
Change “you” to “I”
To help your relationship communication, think about how you phrase things when talking with your spouse, especially when you are in conflict. It is so easy for us, when angry, to fall into the “You” statements.
“You never listen to me!” can be rephrased in a less-accusatory way: “I’m feeling unheard.” Remember: when you start with the “You,” your spouse immediately gets feeling defensive. When you start with the “I,” it allows you, partner, to open up to what you are trying to say.
Concentrate on the present issue. To communicate more effectively in times of conflict, stick with the problem at hand.
Avoid bringing up the past
“This is the fifth time I’ve had to remind you to pick up the dry-cleaning on your way home from work! Why can you NEVER remember to do this one simple task?”
To communicate your frustration in a more positive way, this phrase becomes, “I’m sorry that the dry-cleaning didn’t get picked up.
What could you do to remind yourself that this needs to be done on your way home?” This phrase leaves out all the other times your spouse has neglected to do this, and it involves them in a solution so that they remember to pick up the dry cleaning next time.
Marriage communication exercises
Even if you have been married for ages, using some marriage communication exercises will help you discover new things about your spouse and strengthen your communication channel at the same time. The following exercises can be done during your evening “couple time”:
Ask each other what your biggest fear is, and talk about how you might manage that fear should it become a reality.
If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, no budgetary limits, where would you go? What attracts you to that place?
If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be? What would you ask them?
What were your favorite childhood books?
What were your favorite childhood songs?
For an excellent communication exercise for couples, do the 36 Questions That Lead To Love. Tip: really listen to your partner as they answer the questions; avoid thinking about what your answer will be until it is your turn.
There are several effective communication books available that you might wish to read to help you learn better skills. This site has some recommendations that are worth checking out.
Better relationship communication equals better sex life
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.