Communication 101

Communication to a relationship is like what oxygen is to life. So, when you are trying to talk to your spouse about something, remember one thing. You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

Developing Effective Communication in Marriage

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” ~ 1 Peter 3:7

What do you like about the way your spouse communicates? Good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. Many marriages could be saved if spouses improved the ways they communicate with each other. It’s often the simplest bad habits that get couples into trouble. Once a marriage gets on a rough track, negativity grows.

While marriage is spiritual it is much more emotional. And one of the most essential elements in marriage is considered to be communication.  Communication is the ointment that lubricates the relationship between two people. 

For this singular reason, it has been found that when the right amount of lubricant is placed between objects, all friction disappears and they walk and work together amazingly; and so it is with marriage relationships.

You have the power to build a healthy marriage by offering your spouse support rather than criticism. Accordingly, this form of positive communication involves some basic habits: listening attentively, validating your spouse and being deliberately gentle. Through encouragement, we can stimulate growth, bring about change, and help them to release their potential. We awaken the feeling, someone believes in me!

You may think of encouragement as approval, praise and reinforcement, but it’s more than that. Praise is limited; it’s a verbal reward. Praise emphasizes competition, has to be earned and is often given for being the best. Encouragement is given liberally. It can involve observing something in a person that others take for granted or affirming something that others notice but never think of saying.

Reassuring your spouse through positive communication can change his or her entire approach to life. You are encouraged to keep working at building effective communication between spouses because communication is the essence of any successful relationship.

Here are some tips for improving the quality of communication in your relationship:

Learn Their Love Language

Communication has to do with expression, hence can be both actions and inactions of thoughts, feelings, desires and every other that can relate your entirety and perceptions to the other person. It behoves the partners to take the time and watchfully understand the pattern of communication that is suitable to get the house running smoothly. Different communication patterns exist and are revealed in what many call love languages, which refers to how couples relate their emotional state to one another. 

Yes, each of you has a primary love language which speaks more deeply to you than all the others. Discovering each other’s language and speaking it regularly is the best way to keep love alive in a marriage.

Bridge the Distance

Couples can’t always be together for 24 hours in day, neither can they keep in touch all through the time they are apart. It therefore becomes imperative for the two to formulate means of reaching out to each other. This reaching out serves as a means to telling the other that I have you always in heart no matter how far apart we are.

A Vineyard to Drink from Continually

There are five times as many positive interactions between happy couples (i.e. listening, validating the other person, using soft words, expressing appreciation, affirmation, physical affection, compliments, etc.) as there are negative (i.e. raising one’s voice, stating a complaint, or expressing one’s anger).

Appropriate words and actions used frequently in marriage relationship tends to aid the growth and joy present in the home. Couples are charged to get skilled in the use of words and actions to make the home a place for either spouse longing to return to. Keep the tension within the house low as much as possible and let no matter unnecessarily increase the tension.

Let it Stay Out

Effective communication is essential in handling a pressing situation in your relationship. The hurdles of the day, whatever each individual faced outside the home, might seem so overwhelming. But this shouldn’t influence the home atmosphere as it can stir up the hornet’s nest unintentionally.

It is important that you both grow in properly addressing issues and challenges outside the home ensuring that they remain outside the home. Nothing communicated under external pressure can positively contribute to peace in the home. Hence, couples should learn how to dismantle external influences to prevent them from affecting intimacy with their spouse.

Schedule Your Date Night

Married couples definitely must be more intentional about spending time together talking. The average couple spends maybe less than 60 minutes a week talking with each other. Turn off the technology and make it a point to spend 20-30 minutes a day catching up with each other.

Surprised and planned outings alone afford you and your beloved spouse the opportunity to communicate your deep thoughts about each other and emotions in a completely different atmosphere from the normal home. It gives volume to whatever is being communicated.

Listen Without Being Defensive

For a marriage to succeed, both spouses must be able to hear each other’s complaints without getting defensive. This is much harder than learning how to express negative feelings effectively.

Relate with More Specificity

When issues arise, be specific. Broad generalizations like, “You do it all the time!” are not helpful. Ambiguity accomplishes nothing in marriage. Pure expressions of dissatisfaction and annoyance should be related in simple words that render clarity but never castigate your spouse. By this, the forbearance by your spouse is manifested and they recognize the innocent intent to foster joy and peace in the home.

Also, use more “I” statements and less “You” statements. This decreases the chances of your spouse feeling like they need to defend themselves.  For example, “I wish you would acknowledge more often how much work I do at home to take care of you and our household.”

Lastly, avoid mind reading. It is very frustrating when someone else acts like they know better than you what you were really thinking.

Express Negative Feelings Constructively

There will be times when you feel anger, resentment, dissatisfaction or disapproval. These feelings need to be conveyed in order for change to occur. BUT – How you express these thoughts is critical. “I am really disappointed that you are working late again tonight,” is very different from, “You clearly do not care one scrap about me or the kids. If you did, you would not work late every night.”

Freely Express Positive Feelings

Most people are quicker to express negative feelings than positive ones. It is vital to the health of your marriage that you affirm your spouse. Positive feelings such as appreciation, affection, respect, admiration, approval, and warmth expressed to your spouse are like making deposits into your love account.

You should have five positive deposits for every one negative. If your compliments exceed your complaints, your spouse will pay attention to your grievances. If your complaints exceed your compliments, your criticism will fall on deaf ears.

When your spouse pays you a compliment, receive it and be blessed by it. It is easier for many to give a compliment than it is to receive it.

Question

Marriage responds to the deepest longings of the heart for love. How can you go out of your way to show your spouse love today?

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