Every relationship requires communication of some sort, whether with friends, spouses, kids, or colleagues.
The tone you use, the words you speak, and your facial expressions can be perceived differently by different people. Sometimes, these forms of communication bring about misunderstandings, affecting married relationships negatively.
Intentions, content, and delivery are all important in clear communication. To improve communication, start becoming aware of how you use your words and tones. Bring each other up even in difficult times. It is harder said than done, but clear communication can elevate a marriage or any relationship for the matter, to a happier state.
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Tip 01: Listen with the right attitude
Although I must say, being hard of hearing comes with age.
Listening is an impeccable skill.
It requires patience and a heart to embrace.
Yes, it is hard to be receptive during an emotional time. Feeling happy or hurt is part and parcel of life, but rising above the turmoil of emotions to listen can improve communication between both of you. It is tough to walk this talk, I know! But we can take small steps to try to listen.
Listening involves eye contact and concentration. You may not always agree to what you have heard, and it is okay to disagree! When you show your spouse that you put in the effort to listen, you also show that you care about him (or her).
If you are not ready to listen with a calm mind or good attitude, take a walk or practice breathing techniques before opening the conversation. Good communication should not feel like going to war.
Tip 02: Be sensitive to your spouse’s feelings
Humans are emotional creatures. We all have been guilty of thinking with our hearts and not our minds.
We also tend to expect that our spouse should have a heightened sense of awareness of our mood. Are we also equally sensitive to their feelings?
At times, it is alright to put your spouse before your feelings out of love. We want them to know that they are the priorities in our lives. This makes your spouse feel safe because they know that they can be vulnerable with you and that there are no barriers to communication.
Even in unhappy times, it is better to maintain open communication and facilitate it further by verbalizing your emotions. Avoid verbal bashing at all costs as it will only build up frustration in your spouse, causing unnecessary hurt and emotional abuse in some cases.
Turning a cold shoulder will only show that you are unhappy about a situation, however, it does not tell your spouse the events or feelings that cause the unhappiness. Having to constantly hypothesize what brings about that thunderous mood of yours can be tedious, and eventually, it will sour the relationship.
Tip 03: Not every time is the right time
Timing is everything. Timing your communication badly may sometimes come across as insensitive to your spouse’s state and circumstances which makes them hurt even though unintended.
From delivering good or bad news, timing can enhance the delivery of the message. Imagine your wife trying to tell you about the horrible day she has had, you unintentionally stop her and share with her that you have a pay raise.
While I am sure she will be delighted about the news, the timing could have been better.
Likewise, if your partner is not ready to actively engage in a session, it is better to leave it.
Tip 04: Be direct but not over-bearing
There are many ways of expressing displeasure. Try using more of “I” instead of an accusatory approach.
“I understand you’re busy, but I would appreciate it if we can take some time to discuss things.”
“You’re always so busy, can’t you spend some time talking this through?”
Both statements are direct in letting the person know that they have been neglecting an issue that is important to them. However, one statement disarms, the other statement puts the receiver on a defensive mode.
At this point, I would like to reiterate that it is difficult to take stock and be polite in the way we speak because, in the heat of the moment, negative expression tumbles out easily.
Tip 05: Don’t sweat the small stuff
You know your spouse better than anyone else.
There are many ways you can choose to deal with your spouse’s flaws. You can kick up a big fuss, behave childishly by creating a racket, or handle it like an adult.
Working on improving communication with your spouse includes learning to respect him and his feelings. He might not leave his laundry in the laundry basket, but he helps with the dishes.
Acknowledge his strengths, and he will acknowledge yours too. This way, respect goes two ways as communication does.
Tip 06: Communicate through your actions
Every one of us has our unique ways of expressing love to our spouse. Some leave roses by the bed to the moon while others use simple, small actions.
It may not always be very instinctive to say “I love you” as your marriage seasons but we cannot deny the power of little actions that demonstrate care and concern. Leaving love notes on the fridge every morning is a good way to improve communication in the relationship.
Tip 07 Stay in the present
Enjoy each other now and always! Not every day is sweet serendipity but every moment counts.
Focus on positive moments, focus on your spouse’s positive qualities.
No one likes to speak with Mr or Ms. Toxic. By always retrieving unhappy memories, it can be difficult to have mutual communication with you
Instead, fix the negative mindset and look at what is good to make the future better.
It is also good to note that in an argument, it is better to use facts than feelings. It is a fact that we all have feelings but feelings are not truths for debating.
Tip 08: Forgiveness and starting over
As partners in marriage, we can afford to cut each other some slack and learn to forgive. We teach our children to apologize and shake hands to reconcile, and before you know it, they are already playing like nothing unpleasant happened.
As adults, we may face more complex issues, but the simple act of forgiveness and willingness to give each other a chance to start over can be an immensely fulfilling decision.
The road ahead as a couple is lined with many challenges. No marriage is easy to handle and maintain. But with the right amount of effort, it is better to face them as a team than as two individuals.
I strongly believe that communication is key to a healthy relationship. Not just in a marriage, but in all types of relationships. Improve communication can strengthen your relationships immensely, and transform you into a happier person.