How To Communicate Better With Your Spouse
How To Fix Communication in a Relationship
Ever thought about how to communicate better with your spouse? I think this is a question we all want to know the answer to! Right?
And boy oh boy do I wish there were a cut and dry answer. Precise step by step directions that bought us a one-way ticket right to the land of blissful communication forever and ever.
But we all know communication is a little bit trickier than that.
Communication is just one word. But man it is powerful.
It plays such a pivotal role in any relationship.
I like to look at it as a heavy hitter in my marriage. And it is especially important when it comes to another “c” word. Conflict.
What does communication look like when there is a conflict? Really think about that question. Let it ping back and forth in that brain of yours.
We all need to think about and consider what communication looks like in our relationship when the road is a little bumpy. When lovey-dovey is out the window and we are about to put our imaginary boxing gloves on and go at it.
That is where these tips and tools come in. They are super simple concepts but they can really impact the way communication plays out in your relationship.
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Here Are 5 Tips on How To Communicate Better With Your Spouse
1) Take Turns
My husband can not stand to be interrupted. And this does not just apply to times we are in heated discussions.
Even if we are talking about something like dinner or the weather, being interrupted is one of those things that gets under his skin.
Now, I come from a family where 6 women can be sitting around a table all talking at the same time and we all know what’s going on. So it is safe to say that interruptions are fine with me. I thrive in conversational chaos!
But I will say this. Taking turns has changed the game for us.
All the credit for this goes to my husband. He was the one who brought this up one day in a very serious manner.
He wanted to start taking turns talking. Yep, just like on the playground in elementary school when you had to wait your turn to go down the twisty slide.
Maybe you are thinking that this is common sense and of course you and your spouse take turns. But I challenge you to really think about and look at how conversations in the past have gone.
Were there maybe some interruptions. Some cutting off the other person before they were finished.
Interrupting is in my DNA! And I know I am not alone in this. But truly taking turns has helped improve our communication and also strengthened our respect for one another.
This is huge. And this also piggybacks right onto taking turns.
When it is not your turn, you need to be listening.
If you are not truly listening to your partner, then the chances of an issue being actually dealt with are slim to none.
We have to listen to what our partners are saying. And we need to be listening to understand. Listening to really try our best to see where our partner is coming from.
In the past, there have been many times when I could hear what my husband was saying but in no way was I actually listening. I was just waiting for his mouth to stop moving so I could get to what I wanted to say. You know, the important stuff.
Sometimes, we can feel so strongly about our side of an argument or disagreement that it almost seems ridiculous to listen to what our partners are saying.
But we still need to try our best to take a deep breath and put our listening ears on. Ok, listening ears may sound a little silly but I have been using it on my 7-year-old daughter for years and it works!
What do you do when you are so worked up that you are having trouble listening. That is a great question. Not sure if you were thinking it but I know this question has come up for me.
There will be times when emotions are high and you or your partner have hit a point where nothing beneficial is going on.
That is the time to implement this next tip!
Know when a break is needed.
Maybe it is just a quick break to use the bathroom because you have been holding your pee for what seems like forever and it’s making you cranky.
Or maybe it is more serious than a bathroom issue and you will need to come back to the discussion another day.
The times when we have been talking so long that we just start saying the same thing over and over. No real progress is being made and everyone is a little (or VERY) frustrated.
Everything does not have to be solved right at the time it was brought up. OMG. That was hard for me to type.
It is still very challenging for me to take a step back and realize that a conversation has maybe taken a turn we didn’t want it to and we need a time out.
I mean, I am that person who could literally talk about an issue until I am blue in the face.
With lots of work over the years, I can now see the benefits of stepping back and putting a pin in it.
Is this easy? Quite the opposite. It can almost feel excruciating at times. It is like making cookie dough and then not baking the dang cookies. Or not eating said cookie dough off every inch of that mixing spoon.
But coming back to a conversation with a clear mind (and an empty bladder) has proven to be a really helpful tool in my marriage.
P.S. Another great thing to do during a pause is to pick up a book! Reading is a great way to gain some fresh perspective.
This book is one of my favorites. Oh, and this one and this one are 100% worth the read!
This idea piggybacks right on that pause idea. There’s a lot of piggyback riding going on here!
What should we during a pause? Process, of course.
It is so crucial to take time to process after a discussion about a serious topic. Especially if the conversation did not come to some sort of solution and it is still sitting out there wide open.
Processing gives us the time we need to really digest what was going on. And it also sort of forces us to not just rush through awkward or uncomfortable talks and say everything is fine when we know it is not. Come on everyone! It is 2021! We can do better than fine.
Actually, I demand you take fine out of your vocabulary. At least when it is related to your partner asking if everything is OK.
How do I feel? Did I express what I was trying to say? Do I know what my spouse was trying to say?
These are great questions to ask yourself when processing a specific conversation.
This is last on the list but definitely not least.
With communication, it is all about the delivery. Our tone. Our body language. The words we are using.
And this can either make or break a conversation.
I have a confession to make.
I roll my eyes. And the worst part is I don’t even realize I am doing it half the time.
But those eyes of mine just keep on rolling.
Do you think this helps or hinders a conversation? Silly question.
Of course, an eye roll does nothing to help a conversation move in a productive direction.
Maybe you tend to cross your arms when you talk or maybe you are an eye-roller like me.
These things may seem small and insignificant but I promise you they are not.
But just like I mentioned earlier, we are all mere human beings. Just out here doing our best. And I don’t know about you, but my best has been and will continue to be sprinkled with mistakes and setbacks.
All we can do is keep pushing forward and keep loading up our tool belts with tips and ideas that we find valuable.
Here is one thing I know to be true. Communication and perfection do not belong in the same sentence. You and your partner will never be perfect communicators.
There will be times when you both act in ways that you might not be proud of the next day. Congratulations. Again I will say this…you are confirmed to be a human being!
But there will also be times when the way you are communicating will feel like a beautiful dance and you both are nailing every single step. Celebrate those times.
We tend to remember the times someone messed up much more easily than we remember the times things ended on a high note. I wish I had some magical explanation for why this is!
Really good communication boils down to consistency. You and your partner consistently trying your best. Consistently putting in the effort to communicate in a way that builds a better relationship.
And consistently not losing your shi* when your husband throws his socks, misses the hamper by a few inches, and then just leaves the socks there. Just me?
Have any tips on how to communicate better with your spouse? Share away! Seriously!
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