Communication does for your marriage what breathing does for your lungs! Consistent communications lays the foundation for every healthy relationship. The problem is, most of us aren’t very good at it.
When my wife and I got married, we assumed that just because we were pretty good with words and both had college degrees in Communication, that we would just naturally communicate well in our marriage, but we learned the hard way that healthy communication takes A LOT of effort! Here are a few tips we have learned along the way that have helped us and may help you too.
1. Never say, “We need to talk.”
For most guys, those are the scariest words in the English Language. When you need to address some important issues, tackle them head on, but don’t create unnecessary dramatic buildup beforehand. Just find a good moment for a conversation and then start talking. Remember that our spoken words communicate more effectively than our text messages, so don’t tackle big issues via text. Have a real conversation.
2. Listen before responding
Listening requires focus on what your spouse is saying. Don’t use the time while they’re talking to think about your response; use the time to try to fully and completely understand where they’re coming from. Ask questions to help you clarify their concerns and make sure you have a grasp on understanding their perspective before responding.
3. Eliminate distractions
You can’t have a productive conversation with your spouse while watching TV, texting somebody, checking facebook or thinking about all the stuff you need to do as soon as they’re done talking. Turn off your phone and any other distractions so you can focus on each other.
4. Get moving
Our minds become sharper when we’re engaging in some type of activity, so your talks might become richer while you’re on a walk than they are while you’re sitting on a couch. Even going for a drive can make for better conversation. Sometimes new scenery can create new conversations.
5. Be an Encourager
There is so much power in our words. You have the power to bring out the best in your spouse or the worst in your spouse by the words you speak to them. Choose to be their biggest Encourager, not their biggest Critic. Celebrate all they’re doing right and they’ll be much more likely to listen in those moments when you need to talk about something they may be doing wrong.
6 . Fight fair
In those moments when you need to tackle a disagreement, don’t sling mud or bring up old hurts. Work together to constructively find a solution. Remember that as a married couple, you’re united, so there’s not a “winner” and a “loser” in the argument. You’ll either win together or lose together, so find a solution that works for you both.
7. Communicate Love
It’s important to regularly say, “I love you,” but it’s even more important to communicate your love through your actions. In every way possible, show your spouse your commitment, respect, affection and love for them.