Effective communication in marriage - Exercises to practice
The importance of healthy communication
Healthy communication in a relationship is quite the challenge, especially if you’re wanting to discuss something sensitive. There are certain skills you can learn so that you are communicating effectively and not destructively.
When you accomplish this for your relationship or marriage, the you can pretty much overcome any hardship, as better communication with your spouse is one of the 7 most important aspects of a relationship.
By unlocking healthy communication, you will be able to share your heart effectively, and listen to your partners heart as well.
Feeling free to share one another’s heart is the most important asset to have with your husband or wife. Being vulnerable in this way will increase your emotional connection with one another and open the door for growth and continuous interest in one another.
As you can see, it all stems from healthy communication, which is no news to most of you.
How to improve your communication skills
Men and women tend to argue in different ways, on top of their differences in communication from personality to personality.
Men tend to shut down, while women tend to speak up. If things go sour, this can translate to the guy leaving, or shutting down completely, and woman yelling or nagging to try and get through to him. There are ways around this so that you aren’t playing off of one another as the ship starts to sink.
Once you can improve your communication, especially if you are dealing with a difficult spouse, then it will show your spouse that you desire to have healthy communication in your marriage. The hope is, that your spouse will begin to notice that when this aspect is invited into the marriage, it will benefit your marriage in general — perhaps they will also want to grow in their efforts as well.
3 communication tips for couples - especially when talking about something difficult.
How to communicate in productive, not destructive ways.
Somedays, communicating with our spouse comes easy. You might both be in a good mood, your circumstances are going well, and voicing your needs was done in a non-critical way.
But as we all know, it doesn’t always go this way. Life takes its toll on us, so we tend to spew our thoughts, instead of gracefully communicating in a way that is beneficial.
Communication is the MOST important part of a healthy relationship, and if you didn’t learn how to do it in a healthy way, you could be swimming up-stream until you learn how.
To go more in-depth on communicating, check out this book Resolving Everyday Conflict on Amazon. It’s a very beneficial tool for learning how to resolve conflict through healthy communication.
That being said, let’t scratch the surface a little, to learn how you can better communicate, by implementing these important aspects.
Whether you are wanting to address something going on in your heart, with your spouse, or you are were thrown into the thick of it by an issue suddenly arising, you can implement these tips on communication for every occasion.
It’s never good to push your emotions down and let them simmer. You will most likely find yourself saying something you wish you hadn’t.
So, first ask yourself these questions.
Figure out the best time to discuss what you want to address.
It's easy in a difficult situation to commit communication sabotage and before you know it, you wished with all your heart you had kept your mouth shut.
I can't tell you how many times I've said something, and immediately after, knew it was the wrong time to say it. My best efforts at using my words carefully or not sounding critical are put to waist faster than I can say, "@#$%" because no matter how well I communicate, it won't matter. It just wasn't a good time.
How do we know when there's a good time to talk about what's on our hearts as opposed to the wrong time? Here are few pointers.
Don't talk about a heart issue that has been simmering for quite awhile, immediately after it happens again.
There is a time and a place to address something right away, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that issue that started as a tiny little seed which was planted awhile ago, that has taken root and grown into the biggest ugly pumpkin you've ever seen. That deserves a bit of analyzing before you voice it.
Don't talk about a heart issue when your spouse is in a bad mood.
If you're sensing a Mr. Hyde sitting next to you that night, it's probably best to wait to discuss heavy heart matters.
Don't talk about a heart issue when your emotions are high on anger.
Some of the best advice I received from my mentor was this — figure out something physical you can do to try and keep yourself from spewing out your emotions.
For her, it's literally putting her hand over her mouth to keep herself from talking.
For me, I have to physically remove myself from the room to go and process what it is I should say, and and not what I want to say. It’s important, though, to express to your spouse that you need a moment to yourself, so they don’t think that you are just bailing on the conversation.
Check out what my husband and I do to end a fight fast.
So, whatever you have to do to keep yourself from talking about something when you OR your partner are not at a good place, do it. Nothing good will come out of a conversation veiled in anger.
2. Think through what you want to say before you say it.
Remember in high-school, when you had to present a book report to the entire class, but you wrote it based on reading a few pages here and there throughout the book? Well, maybe you weren't as lazy as I was.
Anyway, relationships are like that book report you wrote based on a book you didn't read. We say things that we haven't studied for and end up getting a really bad grade, except not from the teacher, but from our spouse.
It's very important to do your homework on what you are going to say if it's a hard topic to discuss. Now that I know I need to do this, I have an actual ritual I perform before discussing something sensitive. And yeah, I call it a ritual.
I got the idea from a book I read and my shortened version of it goes like this. You can really do this exercise for anything difficult you're going through, as it's a great tool for really digging deep as to why you feel the way you feel.
My "Don't eff this one up" ritual
First, in my journal, I write down the topic of my issue - Discussing...with my husband.
Then, I thank God that he has given me a husband, or thank him for something having to do with the specific trial. Yeah, always gratitude first, even when angry.
Next comes telling God specifically what’s going on, and why I am so upset. God wants us to be real with him.
Then, I confess and ask God to show me what it is I need to work on in the situation. For Him to show me what exactly I need to take responsibility for. This usually become apparent to me as I am expressing to Him what is going on.
Oftentimes, I find that most of my anger is coming from my suppression of feelings. After expressing them to God, I don't feel the need to discuss it with my husband anymore. But sometimes, a conversation is still needed, except the anger and garbage from my mind has been addressed and I can better process what it is I need to say to him.
3. Ask yourself if it is beneficial to your relationship to discuss it or just let it go.
There is a difference between an issue that is an actual issue and something that is a preference. By that I mean, ask yourself, "Is this something I am just preferring to be different, or is it causing real damage to our relationship?"
If you find that your issue is something you preferred to be different, you need to come at it at another angle than if it's a real damaging issue.
If the other person, when dealing with a particular issue, isn't emotionally or physically causing you harm, then it's quite possible you should let it go as it's a preference.
Voicing your needs is perfectly fine here, but leave it at that. How they react is on them. There's nothing wrong with voicing your needs. Just make sure there isn't a deeper issue at hand.
Ask yourself if those feeling and emotions you are having are really in need of a heart to heart, or would you just prefer your circumstance to be different?
Many times, what we thought was a big deal, was just a fleeting moment of frustration. When we can discern and analyze before we discuss, we will save ourselves a lot of unnecessary arguments.
Hormones running high, stress, or not sleeping well are some factors in causing a fight — that's why it's very important to first analyze your side of things before you go stirring the pot.
You'll be grateful you did.