Healthy Communication is Essential to a Healthy Marriage
Poor Communication makes Everything more Difficult!
Having quality communication skills can decrease difficulties in your marriage and make things go smoother. So many areas require good communication to solve problems with parenting, finances, and resolving conflicts. Communication is a common problem area cited when seeking counseling. Couples can make great strides in communication by simply evaluating and eliminating the communication habits that hinder healthy conversation in their relationship. Marriages are not without arguments or breakdowns in communication.
How we communicate about conflicts defines a marriage. Often, the communication stops moving forward and leads to breakdown when criticism, stonewalling, or defensiveness becomes frequent in your dialogues. If your communication skills aren't perfect, you can continually improve them. Since you are married, you probably know how your partner acts during a fight, what sets them off, and what calms them down. Ending an argument before it gets too heated is a good practice.
How You Express your Emotions is an essential part of healthy communication.
The key to communicating effectively in a marriage is active listening which involves intently and mindfully paying attention to your partner.
Some factors in active listening include:
your tone of voice
written communication or text
Reflective listening helps clarify their partner's feelings, needs, and expectations. This skill allows your partner to feel understood, heard, and valued. Another mistake that leads to misunderstandings is not closing the circle of communication.
One way to do this is through closed loop communication
It's a 3-step process where:
The communicator uses their partner's name to convey what they want to say.
The listener gives verbal confirmation that the message is understood.
The communicator confirms that the listener understood correctly, closing the communication loop.
Steps for Healthy Communication
1.Acknowledge that there is a problem.
We can learn new behaviors if we admit there is a problem and are willing to put in the time and effort needed. Lowering our ego and pride can help improve communication with our partners.
2.Schedule Time with your partner to discuss your feelings.
It is essential to have a conversation at the right time for both of you. Starting a conversation with your partner when they are tired, angry, or just having a bad day is counterproductive and adds additional pressure. Patience and understanding are minimal at these times and can create a more hostile environment. Starting a meaningful conversation when someone is falling asleep or leaving for work is not recommended either. Choose times when you can contribute the necessary time and patience to discuss and resolve an issue.
3.Express your needs or wants clearly.
Be specific when communicating with your spouse. Do not assume they have read your mind or know what you want. When issues come up, be precise, it is not helpful to use broad generalizations.
It is frustrating when someone acts like they know what you are thinking better than you do.
4.Express Negative Feelings Constructively.
There will be times when you feel bitter, resentful, disappointed, and disapprove. These negative feelings must be communicated constructively and dealt with for a change to occur. "I feel.." statements are healthy ways to convey negative feelings.
5.Discuss your feelings using "I feel.." statements.
If you believe your feelings are not being taken into consideration by your partner, it may be that you're not expressing yourself constructively. Your partner might have trouble validating your feelings but realize you do not control their reactions. On the other hand, the way you express yourself is solely within your control. Try not to project your feelings through criticism onto your partner when you want to get your point across.
Instead, focus on your feelings about the issue and ask how to find a respectful, mutually satisfactory resolution together. When you talk to your spouse using "I" statements, raise an issue without playing the blame game. Your spouse has room to realize that a problem is important to you without feeling judged or attacked.
6.Be willing to Listen to their feedback.
Be prepared to hear feedback, as communication is a two-way process. When you share your feelings, your partner will most likely have a reaction they want to share with you too. Set some time aside later so your partner can share their impressions, and you can listen to them this time.
7.Remember to express your affection for your partner.
Physical closeness with your partner does your heart good. Studies conclude that women who spend short periods of affection with their partner can lower anxiety levels and boost oxytocin to improve overall mental well-being and physical health. It's no surprise, therefore, that physical intimacy fosters healthy communication between spouses.
Remember to show affection every day. Small gestures like a hug or a quick kiss make you feel more connected to your partner. If you've been arguing a lot due to communication issues, chances are you've distanced yourselves from each other over time. However, as your connection strengthens, you and your partner will begin to show affection in a way that feels natural again.
8. Provide Open Space for each other.
Provide an open safe space, privacy, and a welcoming attitude for the two of you to communicate. Avoid spying and checking your partner's messages to ensure your relationship is free of deceit and doubts, and give loving trust so you can thrive as a couple.
If you have trouble communicating as a loving couple, consider seeking counseling. A professional can guide you through the challenging stages of reconnecting and help you find joy in those small loving gestures over time. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.
Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises