3 Communication Alternatives for a Spouse Who Doesn’t Open Up

BY: - 12 Dec '13 | Marriage

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Communication challenges in relationships are extremely common. A great deal of concerns are centered around one partner not sharing enough or failing to discuss the issues bothering them most. As you might imagine, this leaves the other partner frustrated and questioning the foundation of the relationship.

Communication or lack thereof can make or break a partnership. What most people don’t realize is our spouse won’t always communicate the way we do or exactly how we feel they should. Instead of allowing that irritation to build, there are alternatives to connecting with a spouse who doesn’t always utilize their words to express themselves.

Since it varies by individual, we first need to gain a clear understanding of our personal communication style. In addition, we must also examine what we think we need from our spouse in terms of communication. Being honest about what we are seeking and why is also necessary. Is the desire for our spouse to open up more frequently more so about their personal growth or our selfish intentions. Are we looking for new information, just want to hear their voice more or are we looking to get our way and control this aspect of the relationship? Either way, acknowledging these truths is the beginning of improving the communication in our marriage. However, if it is all your spouse, and they truly won’t open up, here are 3 communication alternatives:

Be more attentive to the non-verbal communication

 We must make it a habit to listen even when actual words aren’t being spoken.  Believe it or not, our spouse will tell us, not always in words, what they need. The more observant we are, the more we’ll notice certain behaviors and habits. We should also pay attention to what they do frequently. The things they pursue or where they invest their time and energy are usually what’s most important. So even if they never express their likes or dislikes, we get an idea just by observing.

Ask all the right questions

 Our spouse may not always be forthright with information, so we should take the opportunity to ask clarifying questions or ones that provide a deeper explanation of things said or actions taken. How we ask those questions is going to be key. We never want to appear naggy, too aggressive or like it’s an interrogation. We have to create a safe and loving place for our partners to share when they are ready.

Lead by example

The more vulnerable and willing we are to share our deepest truths, the more comfortable our partners will feel to do the same. Doing this means we aren’t necessarily tied to the results; we aren’t just sharing so our spouse will. We are sharing because there are certain things we want our partners to know about us. The more they learn about who we are, especially the fact they can trust us with everything, the sooner they will be willing to open up too.

While we wait for our mates to become the communicators we know they are, we have to demonstrate patience. Embracing where are spouses are right now relieves some of the frustration we feel. As long as they are communicating the basics, it isn’t always as bad as it appears.

BMWK, how do you handle communication challenges in your marriage?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter

http://www.lifeediting.com

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and a Career Coach/Trainer. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Ebony Magazine, Essence.com and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com

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