So, how to communicate with your partner while avoiding resentment and shouting matches?
If you are a wife looking up for advice on how to communicate with a husband without fighting, or a husband who feels like a deer caught in the headlights when the subject of communication and conflict resolution broaches, read on.
How to communicate with your spouse effectively
No couple should aim to have no fights in their marriage.
One of the ways to improve marriage communication is to keep the end goal in mind. This will help you argue effectively, stay close, and be there for each other, always.
Conflict is a normal part of being in a relationship, and even the most committed married couples fall out from time to time.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just let arguments go unchecked. Fighting can quickly become toxic and damage your relationship.
It is crucial to remember that improving communication skills with the spouse is possible only with the right intention and a steely resolve to diffuse an impasse, in the course of communication during conflict.
That’s why learning to fight fair is so important when communicating with your spouse – it means you can meet conflict head-on without hurting each other or causing lasting harm to your relationship.
The mark of a strong relationship isn’t whether or not you argue, it’s how well you resolve problems when they arise.
Make painful conflict a thing of the past and learn to fight fair with these simple ways to improve relationship communication and enjoy a blissful married life.
Here are 8 ways to improve communication in marriage as you feel your bodies flooding with adrenaline preparing to fight and you both lose sight of how to communicate during a conflict.
Also watch: What Is a Relationship Conflict?
1. Create a time out system
There’s no law about communication in marriage, that says once a fight has started, it has to run its course. It’s perfectly ok to request a time out to cool off, calm down, and think about the next best step.
To improve communication and fix resentment institute a time out system with your partner and agree that either of you can call “pause” on a fight at any time.
You can use a specific code word that you agree on, or you can simply say “time out.”
Remember to always honor each other’s time our requests – don’t try to finish your point after your partner asks for a time out.
2. Keep to the subject
When you fight, focus on what the fight is about.
Resist the urge to drag up things from the past. If you’re frustrated because you seem to do all the chores, talk about that. Don’t drag up that one time they stood you up for an important event.
Using fights to air every past resentment only causes pain and is more likely to drive your partner away.
3. Agree to fight
It sounds odd and counter-intuitive when we make crib notes to improve communication, but it’s best if you can agree to fight. Instead of telling your partner that you’re going to have it out, right now, whether they like it or not – ask them.
Tell them that there’s something you need to talk about and ask if it’s a good time. Of course, if they keep dodging the subject, there’s a problem, but it’s only respectful to give them the chance to say if they’re ready and agree to the discussion.
4. Don’t aim to win
Your partner is not your opponent, and this is not a contest.
Don’t go into a fight with the aim of winning it. When one of you wins, neither of you really wins – how can you, when the other is left defeated? You’re a team, and you’re still a team when you’re fighting. Aim for an outcome that you can both agree with.
5. Quit yelling
Yelling puts your partner on the defensive and doesn’t help to improve communication at all. When you shout at someone you become the aggressor and they naturally go on the defensive and either shut you out or yell back.
If you feel like shouting, take a time out and come back to the discussion when you can be calmer. Learn to put your point across without shouting at your partner.
6. Pick your time
Not all time is fair game for a fight. If your partner is exhausted from work, or you’re trying to deal with the kids, or you’re about to head out to meet your couple friends, don’t fight.
If you want to improve communication, choose a time to have your discussion when you are both feeling relatively at ease, and you know you won’t be interrupted. You’re not aiming to sneak attack on your partner, but rather to find the right time and space for a talk.
7. Don’t go for the jugular
Everyone has sensitivities and weak spots.
Chances are you know your partner and they know yours – so don’t use them against each other.
No matter how angry you are, don’t use their insecurities against them.
The damage you do could ripple out long after the fight has ended. You’re not fighting to hurt each other – you’re discussing an issue so you can resolve it, improve communication and move forward in a way you’re both happy with.
8. Keep your sense of humor
A sense of humor can go a long way to resolving conflicts and dissolving tensions.
When things are tense, don’t be afraid to crack a joke or make a quip you know your partner will laugh at too.
Be willing to laugh together and see the funny side of your disagreement, even if you’re angry, too. Laughter brings you closer and reminds you that you’re in the same team.
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.