Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Key to Communication in Marriage

The ability of spouses to communicate effectively with each other plays a big role in not only a healthy marriage, but in successfully rebuilding from infidelity. If a couple misunderstand each other, don't really hear each other, or attempts to communicate always turn into heated arguments, it will be near impossible to rebuild the trust and security needed for a vibrant marriage. Even communication that is only occasionally misfiring will cause problems.

So, How Do Spouses Improve Their Communication?

There are lots of places on the web, lots of books you can buy, seminars you can attend that can help with this. This is one aspect of marriage counseling. Having your therapist spend some time on this topic, especially if this is a sore spot in the relationship, is money well spent.

So that I'm not leaving you totally without guidance in this department, this article on "Effective Communication" at is a good start. I've read through the article, and I liked what it says. However, I don't know this site. It may be good, or not. So linking there isn't an endorsement of the site, but this article is good. Use your own judgement.

My Checklist of Communication Problems

Before we divulge the key to effective communication, this is my list of behaviors that cause most communication problems.

1. Not listening.

Too often our attention is not fully on the person speaking. Either because we are planning our next statement/point, checking text or other activities while "listening," not making eye contact, or our mind is off on a rabbit trail.

2. Not talking clearly.

Frequently, people hint, generalize, or leave cleaver clues, hoping the other person will pick up on what the speaker really meant. This derives from a desire not to confront. Instead of simply saying what your problem is, you shoot all around it hoping they'll get it without having to come out and directly say it. Problem is, if you don't clearly communicate what is on your mind in a constructive manner, don't expect them to get it. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

3. Not being honest.

If you have something to hide from someone, you'll tend to not communicate clearly, and say things you don't mean to cover for the secrets. It is much more likely you'll send contradictory messages. To communicate effectively means saying what you really feel about a topic. Be real.

4. Not engaging a person's points.

When you ignore the other person's contribution to the topic at hand by failing to address it, staying focused on your point(s), answering the question you think they intended to ask or should have asked instead of the question they did ask,  it tends to either shut down communication and/or cause the conversation to chase its tail. I can't tell you how many times my wife and I made our points over and over again to each other, because neither of us felt the other was addressing their concerns and points.

This is by no means a complete list, but they all are examples of violating the following key to effective communication in anything, especially a marriage.

Effective Communication Happens When Spouses Demonstrate Respect for Each Other.

 That's right. When you respect someone, you respect their opinion and feelings enough to honestly care about what they have to say, actively listen to what they say, and incorporate what they are saying into the dynamic of the conversation. When you respect someone, you'll be honest and transparent with them, and communicate clearly what you honestly think and feel about a subject. You'll do all that in a non-judgmental manner, as well as not becoming offended yourself, and jumping to the conclusion that they are being judgmental.

Indeed, some reading this will be thinking to themselves, "Oh, yes. This is what my husband does to me. Bad husband!" No, this is not a rod to beat your spouse over the head with, but a tool for self-evaluation! You can't control how he will respond, but you can work on your communication skills. Yes, if possible, lead him to water, but only he can decide to drink. Invite him to grow with you. But instead of using this information to judge your spouse, use this and the above article to help you communicate more effectively. Both to speak and to hear and to respectfully engage each other.

The key is to honestly respect your spouse as a person of worth, whether you like them or not. Do that, and all the skills mentioned in the above linked article will follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment