Does it sometimes feel like your spouse is from another planet? That the two of you speak totally different languages? That’s actually not so far from the truth.
Men and women do have different ways of communicating. To remedy communication problems, those differences will have to be overcome.
Still, it probably feels like both of you are completely clueless about how to even approach this issue. What, then, can you do? Are you just doomed to being horrible communicators? – I assure you, it’s not that hopeless.
Tips to Better Conversation in Your Marriage
1. Make the Time to Talk a Priority
Anything worth doing right takes time and focus. Communication doesn’t happen accidentally nor should it be approached haphazardly. To overcome communication problems, you must make the time to talk daily, without distractions. That means, both of you must disengage whatever you’re doing and listen. So, turn off the TV, the computer, the video game. Whatever it is that keeps you from paying full attention to the conversation.
2. Learn to Speak Each Other’s’ Language
Both of you communicate love in different ways, and you both understand what you, yourself are saying. But does your spouse understand? In order for your partner to feel the love that you’re communicating, you must speak his or her language, or the message is lost. Keep in mind that women generally enjoy warm and intimate communication about feelings and relationships, while men are typically more inclined to talk about activities and solutions to problems. Adapt your approach and try to understand each other’s’ point of view.
3. Communicate Clearly
Don’t assume anything. Thinking that you’re married to a mind reader is unreasonable and often causes communication problems. It’s of the utmost importance that you tell your spouse, in clear terms, what’s important to you. Sit face-to-face with your partner and fully express your wants and needs.
4. Treat One Another With Dignity and Respect
There’s no reason to behave uncivilly, even when talking about difficult topics. It only causes the other person to shut down. Show respect to your spouse by the tone of your voice and your pattern of speech. It’s much more appealing to others if you speak graciously, act kindly, show a sense of humor, remain humble and patient, and even apologize when needed.
5. Show Genuine Interest
It’s so easy to let your attention drift when your spouse talks about something you don’t much care for or you just don’t understand. Resist that! Use active listening skills. Try techniques like non-verbal communication, asking questions to clarify, or repeating what your partner said in your own words to show that you’re truly interested in what your partner is sharing with you.
6. Focus On Their Strengths
Stop focusing so much on what you want. It’s not productive to shut down and withdraw from the conversation when it doesn’t go your way. Instead, use each conversation with your spouse to learn something new, focusing on his or her their strengths. You might be surprised at how well you get to know each other and how close this will draw you over time.
7. Appreciate – Encourage – Compliment
Who hasn’t been picked up by an appreciative word, a kind expression of encouragement, or a genuine compliment? We all thrive on positive affirmation. So, take note of specific things your spouse does for you and for others during the day. Express that you noticed. Give your partner a loving compliment about his or her appearance, say thank you for a beautiful dinner, or simply send texts saying you can’t wait until he or she gets home.
Communication is vital in all facets of life – especially in marriage. Take a moment to seriously consider the listed tips and put them into practice. There’s no reason why communication problems should stand in the way of having good conversations in your marriage.
Nancy Ryan, LMFT specializes in working with individuals and couples who want deep, satisfying relationships with themselves and their partners. She works with couples who are ready to stop the destructive patterns and want to build the love, friendship and romance back into their partnership.