We are always communicating something. Even if you're not talking, you are always communicating something. What are you communicating to your spouse? Are your communicating effectively? What things keep you from having better communication with your spouse?
Especially when in conflict or having a misunderstanding, it is important to communicate effectively. In this article we'll give you tips on communicating properly during these stressful times.
1. Try to make sure you don't stray from resolving the issue by getting off topic. Make sure you've resolved the issue before moving on to other topics.
2. Don't bring up the past, just focus on dealing with the current issue.
3. Do not resort to name calling, yelling, ignoring, etc. Remember that your spouse is not the problem. Work with your spouse to come to a solution.
4. Listen attentively to your spouse. Don't make them feel like you don't care by shutting them out, eye rolling, disapproving looks, shrugging shoulders, looking at the clock, etc.
5. Try to understand the feelings your spouse is trying to share. Make sure to validate their feelings, not make them feel bad for them.
6. If you hear something that seems hurtful to you. Repeat back what you are hearing to see if that is what your spouse is actually trying to say, most of the time it's not. It's easy to hear things differently when you're feeling hurt.
7. Let your spouse talk without interrupting, or trying to talk over them. Give them opportunities to explain, apologize, make things right, etc.
8. When communicating your feelings, make sure you communicate in a non blaming, non disapproving way. It may help to use the "When you__________, I feel____________, I'd rather you____________." method. It gives your spouse a solution instead of just the problem.
9. Make sure you resolve the issues. Don't just "sweep them under the rug" When issues get ignored they don't go away, they get worse.
10. Try not to bring up deep serious topics when you're extremely tired, on your way to bed, when you only have a few minutes to chat before leaving, etc. At these times it may be better to schedule in a time as soon as possible to talk about the issue, just don't forget about it.
Hopefully these tips will help. Remember that learning to communicate properly can be a process. Most people have learned at least a few negative communication techniques somewhere along the way. Some things may need to be unlearned so that better communication tools can replace them.
It helps to be patient with yourself and your spouse. Negative ways of communicating were most likely not learned overnight, and will take some time to be replaced.
So, don't give up, and try to understand when you've returned to those bad habits of communicating, and try to get back on track as soon as possible. It is worth all of the effort put into it, when you get a happy, healthy marriage, and know that you have someone that you can share anything and everything in life with.