It goes without saying that one of the key components to a healthy and successful marriage is positive and effective communication. Without it, arguments run amok and the relationship heads south fast. Increasingly though, more than 50% of marriages today fall victim to poor communication and either end in divorce or are at the edge of the cliff, barely hanging on. It doesn’t have to be that way.
When it comes to using the right words and striking the right tone whether in casual conversation or problematic discussion, a little training can go a long way. It’s not always easy to forego raw emotion for a measured, yet honest, response. So, we’ve taken some time to compile a list of some of the best communication techniques that have kept couples happy and marriages strong.
- Trade in the clap back for the clap up. It can be so easy to go negative on your spouse, especially if they don’t want to do things your way. Instead of being quick to bring them down, take time to lift them up. Remind yourself of some of the most amazing reasons you fell in love and jumped the broom with your mate.
- Remember the silent treatment has its place. When appropriately used, taking the time to think about what to say and when to say it can save you a lot of heartache. Make sure you indicate to your partner you aren’t ignoring them but that you just want to take some time to think things through.
- Add a dose of compassion to your listening ears. Often times in conversation, we listen only to respond. As a result, we fail to feel the conflict working its way through our spouse’s heart. Place yourself in their shoes and let compassion be your guide.
- Call it like they see it, but it won’t be easy. If you take a moment to see things through your partner’s eyes, you can admit you are in the wrong and not lose anything. Adjust your thinking and you’ll be able to see things from their point of view.
- Don’t let issues sit and fester. Talk the talk. While it’s good to take some time to think things over, too much time leads to complacency – and that never leads to anything good. Deal with things as they arise or eventually suffer the consequences.
- A little seasoning goes a long way. Words…have power. You know it. Your spouse knows it. So even when things get challenging, season your words with kindness. Add a dab of love and a pinch of sensitivity to a strong critique and your mate will find it much easier to swallow.
- Keep your conversation age appropriate. It is not cool to talk down to your spouse as if you are addressing your five year old child. Regardless of whether or not they are quick to understand your frustration, treating them like a child or resorting to infantile behavior or name calling won’t help. Stay grown.
- To text or not to text should not even be a question. These days, it’s important to offer this advice. When a heavy duty conversation is needed, having it via text is not wise. Let’s just leave it at that.
- Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang isn’t just a movie anymore. On some level, this feels sneaky. However, some of the best and most effective discussions happen after sex. The mood is right. Attitudes are checked. A willingness to cooperate is present. Need we say more.
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered is communicating outside the box. Sometimes, when you want to be heard and not interrupted, a well thought out and clearly written letter to start things off can do the trick. Your partner can respond in kind, giving you the opportunity to hear them without interrupting as well.
- Everyone has a tell. In a marriage, the EYES tell it. If your words say one thing and your eyes say another, you won’t be believable. Your spouse wants to understand you and meet your needs so giving them the side eye while declaring nothing’s wrong won’t get you anywhere.
- There’s a time and place for everything. Whether good or bad, uplifting or challenging, there is a time and place for everything. True enough you can’t always plan out every discussion. But when you suspect there’s a tough one ahead, wait for the appropriate time and place before diving in.
- One issue at a time is enough. For particularly challenging discussions, raising more than one issue at a time can be a major blow to your efforts. Keep it simple.
- Make the connection between past and present. Sometimes your partner is unable to see things from your point of view. Period. A gentle reminder of a similar hurt from their past is a helpful way to connect their pain to yours.
- Figure out what works for your spouse. What’s good for the goose may not necessarily be good for the gander. Figure out what form of communication your spouse responds to best…and do that.
- Keep it spiritual if you want it to last. All of the above is easily achievable if you approach your spouse with a spiritual mindset. Treat them the way you would want to be treated and watch God work.
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Don’t let your marriage become a casualty because of poor communication skills. Take the time to practice any or all of the above. Use these tips not only for challenging conversations but for uplifting and positive ones as well. If you forget or if something doesn’t work, then come back to this article and find the one(s) perfect for you and your spouse!
BMWK, have you tried any of these communication tips? Which ones work for you?