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7 Steps For Effective Communication In Marriage

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Communicating with others, especially in an intimate relationship, is a slippery slope that many couples struggle with. It is delicate dance between what you want, what your partner wants, how you express yourself, how well you listen….and on and on it goes.  Communication involves effective listening, and clear, respectful, and open discussion.

What it all boils down to is intimate diplomacy. You both want to be heard and understood. Here are seven simple steps to use for effective communication in your marriage.

Give your partner your full attention. Turn off or put down any distracting technology. Lean in towards your partner a little bit. Let your body language send a message of connection–especially if you are concerned that topic may create distance, at first.

Open up with an “I feel..statement” that takes the pressure off your partner. This doesn’t mean something like “I need you to change,” either! Own your own feelings and use language that indicates your awareness that each of us is responsible for our own thoughts and behavior.

Invite your partner to share their perceptions and listen carefully. Practice using wait time to allow your partner to respond to you.

Don’t interrupt! Stay focused, attentive, and connected. Even if you particularly like or simply don’t agree with what is being said. Hang in there and keep your focus.

Reframe what you heard your partner say, “What I hear you saying is…” or “If I understand you correctly, then I think you feel…” This lets your partner know that you really care about the message being conveyed and that you are invested in making sure you heard it accurately. 

Communicate your ideas for solutions with collaborative words. Maybe something like, “Well, perhaps we could try…” Or, “What if I did ... and you did ..." Or, “I’m stuck. What do you think we need to do next?”

Be prepared to continue the conversation at another time. Sometimes, issues or decisions cannot be resolved right away. You and your partner need to be willing to take a time out to process the information and think about possible solutions.

Working on your communication skills with your partner will result in mores satisfying conversations, harmony more productive decisions, and a deeper intimate relationship with your partner.

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