And is it possible at all? Many married people, after several years of relationship, come to feel that the way in which they communicate with their spouses is so routine and they rarely think about it twice. But they do get upset, annoyed, hurt, they often grow distant and resentful. And all this is because of nasty communication habits and our general tendency to believe that, if the person is right, there would be no need for any explanations or we shouldn’t have to put any effort into talking things out. We should just get each other, almost in a supernatural way.Even if we do realize that communication is a skill as any other and it takes some deliberation and practice to do it right, we rarely dedicate enough attention to it. Married life comes with so much other problems and responsibilities, so many other things that need resolving, that the way in which we talk to each other usually takes the hit. Ask yourself, how long was it since the last time you committed some effort to thinking about how you could communicate differently?
And if you did try – how hard was it, and how soon did you both slip right back to your communication routine (whether it is arguing, insulting, avoiding conversation, sulking, nagging…)?This is very common and there is no need to be hard on yourself. But healthy communication is a foundation of every lasting relationship, and it takes some time to achieve it.Here are a few simple but also sometimes surprising ways in which you can break the cycle of damaging communication in your marriage and talk about daily chores and most profound feelings with equal efficacy:
Choose the right time
Being married, especially if you have children, often means that if you want to say something, you have to say it at the first opportunity that comes your way. Yet, if you truly wish to discuss some important issue, the key is in choosing the right time to talk. The ideal moment is when you’re both relaxed, not in a hurry, not stressed, and in a good mood. But if you need to solve a problem urgently, it’s ok to schedule an hour that you’ll both set aside for this conversation exclusively. By doing so, you will avoid one of you feeling ambushed and the other frustrated.
Make small talk
Interestingly, the way to build closeness and to open path towards more serious conversations is to make a lot of small talk in marriage. Sharing details of your day with your spouse can, in fact, reveal a lot about you. It’s not just what happened to you, but also how you see it, how you feel about it, what details you find interesting, etc. We learn about our loved ones by letting them talk about all the small things that happened to them. Small talk builds intimacy. And in that way, when you need to communicate about difficult things, you might understand your husband or wife more profoundly and see why they get angry or sad, what upsets them, and what they expect of others.
Take time out and return to unresolved conflicts
Arguing endlessly without constructive solution at sight is always a bad idea. Such arguments tend to escalate and to wander far from the rather insignificant issue to insults, big nasty words, and both often say hurtful things that they probably don’t even mean, but can’t take back. So, the right thing is to take a time out of the argument when you see it’s going nowhere. Apologize politely, say that you will continue the talk in a bit, and go out for a short walk, take out the garbage, take a bath, or just spend some time alone. By doing so, you will allow the physiology to do its course, and you’ll be able to see that the majority of the anger you were feeling was induced by your bodily reaction to stress of the conflict. And when you take 10-15 minutes to calm down, your reason will take over again. Then go back and try to start the conversation from a more accepting position, using “I” instead of “You” talk, and with openness and warmth.
We sometimes forget that we’re not in a war, but in a marriage. We use our spouses as containers for our frustrations and insecurities, and all this comes to surface if we disagree about the smallest or the biggest issues. But, whether it is taking the dog for a walk or values that are to be installed to your children, when you start arguing the next time, remember – you married a partner for life, and the relationship is for keeps.