Perhaps you have heard about a couple’s communication class being run in your neighbourhood and you are wondering if it is worth attending. Firstly, you need to ask yourself, “How good is the communication between my spouse and me?” Do you ever feel that there is room for improvement, or are things so bad that you feel desperate for some help at times? And secondly, does your spouse feel the same way as you do, and would he or she be willing to actively participate in classes or communication workshops for couples? If the answer to both these questions is ‘yes’ then you can make plans to sign up for classes and start looking forward to some of the benefits you can expect to follow.
Before looking at the benefits, though, you first need to locate the right option for you and your spouse to attend. If there is not something already running in your area, you may need to do a bit of research online, or ask around in your community to find a good fit that is within your reach. Some of the numerous options available include courses or communication classes for couples online, which you could work through together in the comfort of your own home. Then there are the Couple Communication programs with level I and II . Or you may prefer the couple’s communication class at kaiser.
When deciding to sign up for one of these courses or classes, you might like to make sure that some or most of the following benefits will be covered in the curriculum.
Identify your own needs and behaviours
Before you can learn to communicate effectively with others, it is good to have some understanding of your own needs and behaviour patterns. Once you understand yourself better, you will know why you do certain things, and why particular issues may or may not upset you. When you are able to acknowledge areas of weakness in yourself, and you are willing to work on these areas, then you will be better equipped to go forward and make significant progress in your communication skills.
Learn effective and active listening skills
Listening is probably one of the most important skills when it comes to communication. How can you answer wisely if you have not listened properly? Listening is by no means a passive exercise of just keeping quiet while the other person speaks. Active and effective listening requires focus and concentration, with the purpose of understanding and helping the other person.
Understand different communication styles
Not everybody communicates in the same way – in fact there are many different communication styles. Some styles are neutral or beneficial, whereas other styles can be detrimental to a relationship. Identifying the styles you and your spouse normally use will help you to understand where you both need to make some changes for the better in the way you communicate with each other.
Explore barriers to effective communication
Barriers to effective communication can be as plentiful and as unique as each individual couple. Perhaps your schedule is too busy, or perhaps you are just too tired to spend quality time communicating at a deep level. Once you can recognize and identify what particular barriers are robbing you and your spouse of valuable and effective communication, you can set about finding a beneficial solution.
Discuss different value systems
Value systems are very important in that they determine, to a large extent, our choices and behaviours. It is essential that a couple discuss their value systems to see where they agree and where they differ. If the differences are too diverse, a certain amount of conflict is inevitable, and a workable solution or compromise needs to be reached.
Understand how decision making takes place
Decisions, decisions, decisions! Every day a myriad decisions need to be made. The question is, in your marriage, who makes the decisions? Do you share the decision-making process? Or have you divided up different areas for each spouse to handle separately? Or does one of you usually defer to the other who ends up taking all the important decision in your marriage?
Discover how best to handle conflict resolution
A marriage without some form of conflict is probably a mirage, not a marriage! Conflict is a given sooner or later between two independent human beings. However, conflict does not have to be destructive or detrimental to a relationship. On the contrary, given the right attitudes and skills, conflict which is handled well can lead to greater intimacy and understanding in a marriage relationship.
Learn anger management skills
Anger which is not managed properly can be like a raging fire which leaves destruction and devastation in its wake. This kind of anger essentially sabotages any chance of effective communication. Therefore, learning anger management skills is an important part of any couple communication class.
Explore love languages and caring behaviours
Exploring the different love languages can help a couple immensely to find out what will really make their spouse feel loved and cherished. If you have been wondering why your bunches of roses and boxes of chocolates are not making any improvement in your relationship, try washing a load of dishes or folding laundry for your spouse. You might just be surprised by a good response!
Learn how to deal with past hurts
Although the past is past, unfortunately unresolved issues from the past tend to cause trouble in the present. If you have never faced some of the hurtful events from your childhood, and shared these with your spouse, now might just be the time to do so. Then you will be free to go forward in a good way without that excess ‘baggage’.
Discuss rebuilding trust
Trust is the bottom line when it comes to any relationship and especially marriage. Unfortunately, many times in the rough and tumble of married life, trust can be shaken or even shattered. Thus it is essential to learn how to rebuild trust in order to restore effective communication.
As you consider these benefits, remember that each couple is unique and your needs may be met in a variety of different ways. So keep on moving forward until you find what you are looking for and what works best for you as a couple.