Are You Wanting Better Communication in Your Marriage?
Sometimes two people want different things at times within a marriage. I love watching a movie in the evening after the kids go to bed. Jen enjoys talking to me in the evening when the house is quiet. These two truths don’t mix well. Here are 3 tips for better communication in marriage that have helped guide better communication for my marriage and can for yours.
3 Tips for Better Communication in Marriage:
I have learned that when Jen wants to talk with me, it’s a great idea for me to TUNE IN. Here’s how I do it.
Tip #1 for Better Communication: Turn OFF
The first thing I do when she asks to talk with me about something (it could be a major issue or details of the day), is to turn off the TV or set my cell phone down (up-side-down). This communicates that I respect her and she is my priority for the next few minutes.
Tip #2 for Better Communication: Turn To
The second habit for healthy communication is to turn to the person who is talking. So, I turn my shoulders to Jen. I face her and give her my attention. She knows, by my body language, that I care about what she is saying.
Tip #3 for Better Communication: Tune In
Finally, I actively listen to what she is saying. Is it information or is it emotionally driven? If its information, I will listen and let her know that I am tracking with her.
If it’s emotionally driven, then I will attempt to identify what emotion she is having and why she is having it. I only pick one emotion and then I share my thoughts back to her. This communicates that her feelings are validated and real (even if I don’t AGREE with the emotions), it is helpful to her that I understand what she is feeling.
Earlier in marriage, I was not good at communication (listening) in my marriage. I’m getting better. It takes practice and determination.
The next time your spouse wants to talk, practice turning off, turning to, and tuning in.
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Cloud, Dr. Henry and Townsend, Dr. John (1999). Boundaries in marriage; Understanding the choices that make or break loving relationships. Zondervan Publishing.
Gottman, Dr. John (1999). The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work. Harmony Publishing.