Communication is the best way to keep your marriage healthy. But for many of us we have not been given the skills to effectively communicate with our mate. So many times we start out talking to our spouse with the best of intentions only to have the conversation blow up in our face. We did not start out hoping for that that ending, but it happened anyway. So what can we do to make sure that the words we say lead to a positive and uplifting conclusion? Here are three simple tips on making our communication a relationship builder.
Do not take the other for granted.
This is more difficult than it seems. When we first started our relationship we paid close attention to the other person's reactions because we could not anticipate how our words would affect them. Now that we have been with them for a while we have grown accustomed to them. But instead of ignoring them, we should be conscious of:
- Are they getting defensive with what I am saying?
- Do they look interested or apathetic?
- Are they calm or becoming agitated?
Always be taking the temperature of the conversation. Sometimes you cannot help that your words will make them defensive. But you can always be considerate of their feelings. If they are getting too agitated, take a break. Let them cool off so that you can discuss things reasonably and not with defensiveness.
The "state of the marriage" address:
The best time to talk about prickly issues is when neither of you are irritated. The best way to accomplish this is to have a set time in which you can sit down and talk about the things that are on your mind. Ask each other these questions:
- What is one thing that I am doing very well?
- What is one thing that I can improve upon?
- What is one area that we, as a couple, can improve upon this week?
Use this time to praise each other and give gentle correction. No one is perfect. We all need a place to talk about the things that irritate us. The problem is we try and do it in the moment when both parties are frustrated. This leads to a lot of upset and not a lot of productive talk. So if you set a neutral time to discuss your shortcomings, you will be amazed with how the other person will respond.
Also take time to talk about the light things as well. Talk about your favorite love quotes, latest news, or the movie you just watched. Talking about things like funny love quotes or movies reminds you of why you married your partner in the first place.
A marriage is given to make us better:
No one walks into a marriage perfect. We are given our spouse to bring joy, encouragement, love, and honesty. The honesty part is normally the hardest part. When we find ourselves in conflict, two people contribute to the conflict. We cannot change the other person, but we can change ourselves.
That is why we should actively be looking in the mirror to identify our responsibility in the conflict and seek to resolve it in ourselves. We must be honest with ourselves and seek ways in which to build a more loving and mature attitude within us. If you take that attitude you will be amazed at how your mate will respond in kind.
As you look to improve the communication of your marriage make sure to remember these three things:
- Pay attention to you mate’s feeling as you talk and take them into consideration.
- Find a neutral, regularly timed appointment to discuss the important issues of your life.
- Remember that you can only change yourself, so focus on that.
If you keep these things in mind you will find that you marriage in well on its way to staying strong for a lifetime.