In any marriage, the ability to communicate with your partner at ease is the key to its success. Oftentimes, poor communication can result in unnecessary arguments that can escalate troubles and lead to a troubled marriage or divorce. Without the ability to properly communicate with your partner, words can be misconstrued, taken out of context, and/or become hurtful.
When it comes to communication in a marriage, it is a known factor that men and women communicate differently from one another and this can most often be the underlying issue for causing poor communication.
1) Choose to be genuinely interested in what your partner has to say:
Yes, it’s a choice. Do you say you love her? Then don’t tune her out when the conversation is not about something you like. Make the effort to attend the event together – you might have something to talk about watching her favorite home makeover show with her; walk hand in hand around the art show; show some interest in her friends. Choose to be interested.
2) Listen without being defensive:
For a marriage to succeed, both partners must be able to hear each other’s complaints without getting defensive. This is much harder than learning how to express negative feelings effectively.
3) Freely express positive feelings:
Most people are quick to express negative feelings than positive ones. It is vital to the health of your marriage that you affirm your partner. Positive feelings such as appreciation, affection, respect, admiration, and approval 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 partner will pay attention to your grievances. If your complaints exceed your compliments, your criticism will fall on deaf ears.
4) Know how to read your partners’ various forms of communication:
For instance, as human beings we communicate not only verbally but also non-verbally through the use of body language and expressions. Women tend to be more animated using their hands while speaking, making facial expressions, and crossing their arms. Men, on the other hand, are less likely to use their hands while speaking, have little to no facial expression, and have a more open and relaxed body language.
Other forms of non-verbal communication include; squinting eyes, finger tapping, head nodding, and eye-rolling. Most often, these non-verbal forms of communication are used by women and can be thought of as unpleasant gestures according to men. Therefore, it is suggested for a male partner to accept that this is a form of communication for women and for a woman partner to accept that it may make her partner uncomfortable; perhaps, tone it down.
5) Speak clearly and openly about your feelings:
Instead of keeping your feelings in and/or feeling like your partner won’t understand, prepare in advance the correct way and time to approach the situation and allow yourself to be clear and open about your feelings. Understand that your partner is more likely to be accepting of your feelings if you share it with them in a more relatable manner.
For instance, instead of telling your partner what they did to make you upset or angry, try to explain to him/her how their actions made you feel; as a person, not just a wife or husband but as an individual whose pain is real.
6) Make eye contact when you are talking:
Also make good use of touch, responsive and reflective feedback, and body language (smiles, gestures, head tilts, raised eyebrows, nods, etc.) to demonstrate that communication is occurring.
7) Avoid surface level or single word responses:
When talking with your partner, it’s too easy to brush off real communication, squash first-order interaction, and signal your spouse that you are not interested.