Many of the issues that people experience in any form of relationship stem from miscommunications, lack of communication, or feeling misunderstood. Here are foolproof ways to improve your communication in marriage to be more effective in your marriage.
Many of the issues that people experience in any form of relationship stem from miscommunications, lack of communication, or feeling misunderstood.
Below are foolproof ways that you can consciously and proactively improve your communication skills to be more effective in your marriage and in other personal relationships.
Be an active listener
Too often we make the mistake of listening to what others have to say with an intention to respond.
We think that we need to always have an answer or something to contribute, however, a truly excellent communicator knows and operates on the old adage that, “Speech is silver, but silence is golden”.
This means that it is good to contribute and respond, but it is even better to listen and to truly listen.
You can be an active listener by maintaining eye contact with the person whom you are listening to/speaking to.
Be aware of your body language
You can also be aware of your body language while engaged in conversation to ensure that you are showing that you are fully committed to the act of listening (open arms, body position facing the person you are communicating with, leaning in if possible/comfortable).
Finally, active listening does not always mean a response is warranted and it goes beyond just responding with “uh huh” and “yeah” or other reaffirming commentary. When you are engaged in conversation, make sure you are truly listening to what the person is saying.
Make sure you’re ready to engage in conversation
Many of us work long, tiring days and when we come home after having to put our best faces on, the last thing we want to do is talk. Know that it is perfectly normal and healthy to want some quiet, alone time before engaging further in more social interaction.
Understand your own boundaries and respect your partner’s boundaries
I hear of many couples that struggle with creating and/or understanding boundaries leading to a breakdown in communication in marriage.
Many times, one person will enter their home after a long day with the other person home already, eager to share their day, thoughts, and ideas the second they can. After a long day at work, we all need some time to unwind.
Identify if you yourself need some time to unwind
My advice is to simply identify if you yourself need some time to unwind before delving into a conversation. If so, identify a period of time (15 minutes, an hour, whatever works for you) and simply respectfully tell your partner, “I’d love to hear about your day and all of your thoughts, but I first need 15 minutes (or whatever timing you deem necessary) to unwind.”
It sends the message that you want to listen, but you first need to take care of your needs in order to better meet the needs of your partner.
It is the equivalent to this concept: If you are on an aeroplane that is going to crash, you must put your own oxygen mask on before you even attempt to help anyone else.
Make sure your own needs are met
You are much more useful and helpful to others when you make sure your own needs are first met.
On the contrary, if your partner is working on setting the boundary for him or herself it is imperative that you honor and respect their needs. They will be of greater service to you and will be a better listener if you respect their time and individuality first.
Ask your partner for his or her attention
If there is something you would like your partner to listen to attentively, ask them first if it is an appropriate time.
This may seem counterintuitive because you may feel that your partner should always be ready, willing, and eager to listen and while that is true to some degree, it is also extremely beneficial to both of you to check in to make sure the timing is appropriate and that you have the time to express your thoughts in a way that is meaningful to you.
Look for an appropriate time to talk for a healthy communication in marriage
Long days at work, emotions, energy levels, demands, and responsibilities all play into our attention level.
If there is something you want to talk to your partner about, even if it is light-hearted, and you feel that you may not be able to hold their attention simply ask, “I want to talk with you about ______, is now a good time?”
If the answer is no, try not to take that response personally, understand that if you attempt you may not be happy with the result and express the level of importance.
If it can wait for a later time, tell your partner you’d like to discuss it when you know you will have his or her undivided attention. Encourage them to do this with you in return so you will know when to dedicate the time and attention at appropriate times for your partner.
Communication in marriage is much more than just our words
Communication is much more than just our words, it also includes how we use our body language, energy and our thought processes.
To improve this important area, we need to take a good look at ourselves and understand where we may be falling short.
Steadily working to rectify any communication issues will inevitably result in a more healthy relationship.