If you’re struggling to communicate with your partner, you’re not alone. No couple is immune to poor communication issues from time to time, and it can be a big stressor on a marriage if it’s not addressed. But there are several things both you and your spouse can do to solve this problem. And they’re pretty simple!
Keep reading to learn 8 communication tips that will revive your relationship.
1. Process Your Emotions First
When an incident occurs, it can be easy to launch into a fight right away. But try and resist the urge to do so, because it’s very hard to have a productive conversation when you’re angry or upset.
It is much more beneficial to process your feelings first and know exactly what you want to discuss with your partner. That way, they will be more receptive to your feelings and you will be more open to their responses. Gaining clarity on a situation may take days or even weeks, but it will be worth it.
A composed dialogue is productive, but heated accusations get you nowhere.
2. Really Listen
This one may seem easy, but it can actually be challenging to execute well.
It is one thing to stop talking, but it is another to actively listen. This also includes listening without judgment, so you’re fully hearing what your spouse is saying. So as tempting as it may be, don’t plan your rebuttal while they’re speaking.
Once you’ve heard their wants, needs, and concerns, you can actually make changes going forward. Because if they feel they’re constantly repeating themselves about the same issue, it could lead to bigger problems down the road.
3. Don’t Be Passive-Aggressive
Making passive-aggressive remarks won’t help any conversation. Instead, you want to be calm while still being forthright about your feelings.
But if you do make a passive-aggressive comment, think about why you said it. What is the thing you really wanted to say to them? And once you figure it out, you have to be brave enough to say it, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
You can’t move on from an issue if you don’t talk about it!
So if you notice a build-up of passive-aggressive comments in your day-to-day life between you and your partner, it could mean you’re in need of a talk.
4. Use the Phrase “I Feel…”
Phrasing your concerns as “I” statements is more useful to your spouse than accusatory statements. This goes hand in hand with avoiding words like “always” and “never.”
For example, a statement like “You’re so lazy you never do the dishes” can be hurtful and untrue. Whereas a statement like “I feel frustrated when you avoid doing the dishes” is clear and constructive. It tells them how their actions affect you rather than you passing judgment on their actions.
5. Have Open Body Language
Even if your communication skills are near perfect, your body language can still make or break a discussion. Good examples of open body language are uncrossed arms, consistent eye contact, and facing someone directly.
You also want to avoid making faces or scoffing if you don’t like something they have to say. If your spouse feels as though you aren’t being receptive to their feelings, they will likely shut down the conversation before you meet your end goal.
6. Don’t Hit Them Where It Hurts
If you’ve been with your partner for a while, you likely know everything about them. And while this can be a great thing, it can also be dangerous in a fight.
If a conversation takes a turn for the worst, you should never use their fears, insecurities, or secrets against them to win the argument. And if this happens, take a step back from the conversation and walk away. The last thing you want to do is betray or hurt the person you love.
You also want to avoid bringing up sensitive issues from the past, especially ones that have been forgiven. This can be a slippery slope and make your partner feel as though they will never be free of their past mistakes.
7. Make Positive Statements
While it’s good to tell your significant other what’s not working in the relationship, you also have to tell them what is working. What do you like about your spouse? What do they do well in your marriage?
Making positive statements alongside negative ones can help keep the conversation positive and productive. For example, try using a statement like “You’re great at showing me affection with your words, but I wish you would show me more physical affection.”
This will not only make them feel validated but it will also make them feel compelled to do what you’re asking. And who knows, you may receive some nice compliments from them in return!
8. Seek Counseling
If you’re facing major issues or contemplating divorce, consider going to couples therapy. It may be exactly what you need to air out the things you haven’t been able to say in a long time.
Masterful communication skills don’t develop overnight, so it can be helpful to talk with someone who is an expert. Consider going on a couples retreat, which can improve communication, build a stronger bond, and renew your understanding of the marriage.
It may just show you the underlying marital problems you can’t see yourself.
Now You Know How To Avoid Poor Communication
There is no shame in relationship struggles, it happens to everyone! So don’t let poor communication ruin the marriage you and your partner worked hard to build. And if you make the effort to implement these 8 tips, you can absolutely achieve open and healthy communication in your relationship.
Click here to schedule a free consultation for your couples therapy retreat with An Affair Of The Heart.