Communication is key to any healthy relationship. A major reason for the breakdown of marriages and relationships is a lack of open communication. Many couples do not know how to increase communication in a marriage. To help you be a better communicator, we’ve come up with a few simple ways to improve communication in your marriage.
Before we dive in and discover how to increase communication, let’s talk about why couples experience problems in this area, and why it is so important to communicate effectively.
Why Communication is so Important
Communication is the glue that holds a marriage together. Don’t have effective communication in marriage and you could have a recipe for disaster.
A marriage without good communication is like a house with no insulation. It will never be as strong, efficient, healthy, or productive as it should be.
Marriage requires more communication than you might expect just from the basics of “man” and “woman.” The day-to-day operation of your marriage consists of lots and lots of communication between the two of you. It is hard to overstate how vital good communication is in your marriage.
Communication is not easy in a couple. It can be really difficult, painful, even infuriating at times.
Here are five reasons communication is important for your relationship.
Reason #1: Communication makes it possible to talk about problems in your marriage.
You cannot resolve a problem if you do not know it exists. Good communication keeps the lines of communication open and honest so you can deal with any issues that come up as soon as they surface. You don’t want to wait until something blows up or becomes overwhelming before addressing it.
Reason #2: Good communication allows you to acknowledge each other’s feelings without being defensive.
It is natural for both of you to get upset when a problem arises in your marriage. Your spouse’s bad mood and negative attitude can naturally make you feel defensive, hurt, or angry. You may respond negatively and, before you know it, your little problem has become a big issue.
When this happens regularly in a marriage, it can lead to a downward spiral of defensiveness that undermines the effectiveness of your communication. When this happens, you become more and more defensive over time until the two of you are no longer able to have a meaningful conversation about the problem at all.
Once good communication is lost in your marriage, it is really hard to get back. You will be trapped in a negative cycle that will keep you from ever resolving your problems.
Because of this, communication is important for your marriage because it helps prevent the escalation of conflicts through effective communication and honest acknowledgment of feelings.
Reason #3: Communication helps you feel understood when you are upset.
Many people struggle with what to do when they are angry or hurt. They get caught up in the emotion and not where they should be–in their hearts. They spend so much energy on how they feel that they have no time to pay attention to what their spouse is saying or doing. Or, if they do listen, they may focus on how the problem is making them feel rather than on what the other person is trying to say.
Good communication makes it possible for you to listen clearly to what your spouse is saying to you. It helps you consider your spouse’s feelings without getting lost in your own anger or hurt. When you are caught up in the emotion of a tough situation, good communication can help bring it back down to earth and keep the conflict focused on the problem at hand.Good communication makes it possible for you to listen clearly to what your spouse is saying to you. Click To Tweet
Reason #4: Good communication allows your spouse to share his or her perceptions of a situation without being defensive.
One problem in a marriage is when one person has a distorted view of things and cannot see the same things from their spouse’s perspective. As a result, the other person feels misunderstood by their spouse who does not get an accurate picture of what is really going on. They can’t understand why their spouse reacts the way they do when they know different. Instead, they assume that their spouse was hurtful or wrong when talking to them.
When you are caught up in your own anger and hurt, it is easy to assume that your spouse was also hurt or did something wrong. But, if the problem is two-way and both of you are not looking at or thinking about the same thing, then how can there be a problem? If both of you truly understood each other’s perspective on things, this would not be a problem.
Communication allows your husband to say what he needs to say without becoming defensive and allowing for an open exchange of feelings. If he spills his guts to you, and you really listen, then he knows that you are truly listening. This can make him feel closer to you in a way that is very different from just talking about things when it is convenient for both of you.
Reason #5: Good communication allows disagreements between the two of you to be resolved quicker and more effectively.
Good communication allows information and feelings to be easily exchanged so that your spouse understands what’s wrong and can adjust his behavior accordingly.
When you do this, your communication process becomes smoother, more efficient, and more effective. This is why having good communication with your spouse is so important for your marriage’s success.
Now you might be asking yourself what can I do to improve my communications within my marriage? In order to improve them, you must first assess where they are currently.
And for this reason, I would recommend checking out my FREE Communication Tips. The checklist includes questions that will help you and your spouse identify where you are with your communication and identify areas of improvement for both of you.
Why Couples Experience Communication Problems
There are many reasons couples have communication problems. We explore 10 reasons here.
Communication is the key to a healthy and happy relationship. But let’s be honest, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes practice and effort to learn how to communicate better with your significant other. You need to learn how to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand what your partner’s needs are.It takes practice and effort to learn how to communicate better with your significant other. You need to learn how to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand what your partner’s needs are. Click To Tweet
Most couples, at some point or another, have experienced communication problems when it comes to talking about each other and their relationship. It’s not uncommon for a couple to feel that they are being constantly misunderstood or that the things they say aren’t being heard. It’s also not uncommon for a couple to feel as if they have to keep repeating themselves in order for their partner to fully understand what they’re trying to communicate.
Trusting relationships are relationships in which both partners are dependable, available to support each other, and responsive to each other’s needs. An ability toVictor William Harris
negotiate conflict and a positive outlook about the future of the relationship are also components of trust.
There are a number of things that contribute to a couple’s inability to communicate effectively. When one or both partners are committed to changing, however, they can learn to communicate with each other in a way that fosters intimacy and trust. The key is to identify what’s really getting in the way of effective communication.
The main reason couples have communication breakdowns is that they lose touch with each other emotionally and spiritually. When there is a disconnect emotionally, it always results in a communication failure.
Practical Steps To Increase Communication
In this section, I don’t want to discuss why you need to connect. I think we all understand the value of communicating with our spouses. Rather, let’s explore a few practical ways we can increase our connection and communication.
Deep communication and connection are built on the foundation of trust. Trust creates emotional safety. No matter how much you talk, without trust, your heart cannot (will not) connect.
You can exchange facts and details about things, but you cannot connect. The only way to truly connect is through trust.
1. Create Opportunities to Connect
I know this seems like a ‘duh’ statement, but it is actually the most common mistake and failure couples make. They simply don’t create opportunities to connect.
They try to catch up over a meal (which is not all bad) or while getting ready for an event, but they seldom have isolated, protected time that is set aside to talk.
Let’s be honest, our lives are busy. We squeeze things into our schedule in an attempt to make sure everything gets checked off the list. This seldom produces a deep connection in marriage. More often than not, it is counter-productive.I know this seems like a ‘duh’ statement, but it is actually the most common mistake and failure couples make. They simply don’t create opportunities to connect. Click To Tweet
Imagine this scenario:
You try to talk about things that matter to you while your spouse is getting dress, or you are preparing for dinner. The connection is lost in the business of other things.
Yes. You are talking. But you aren’t connecting.
Communication is not about saying words. it’s about feeling connected because someone is hearing your heart. Not just your words.Communication is not about saying words. it’s about feeling connected because someone is hearing your heart. Not just your words. Click To Tweet
This is impossible to multitask. Set time aside to do nothing but talk. No other ‘side items’ can be on the agenda. This is your time to connect.
When we first moved to Colorado (we are back in the South now), my wife and I spent days just talking. Because we were new to the area and did not know anyone, we would hike in Garden of the Gods (walking distance from our place) and talk about everything under the sun.
It was one of the richest times of our marriage. We learned a lot about each other we didn’t know. We explored dreams we had rarely mentioned in the past. We laughed. Dreamed. And discovered each other in a brand new way. All because we had time to connect and talk. Time that was uninterrupted by life.
While most couples can’t move to a new state to connect, you can set aside time to talk. Time that is not diluted with other activities.
2. Be Prepared
At the risk of making this sound like a corporate meeting, it is important to be prepared to communicate and connect with your spouse.
For some, this comes naturally. For others, it takes work. That’s why we suggest preparing for your time together.
What does this mean?
Being prepared means you value and take your time together seriously. That doesn’t mean it always has to ‘be serious.’ It means your time is important enough to you that it matters enough to put time, energy, and thought into how you construct your time together.
3. Use Questions To Explore New Topics
Each month Michelle and I attend dinner with three other couples. For lack of a more creative term, we call it our ‘dinner club.’ It’s the same four couples each month. We rotate locations so each dinner is held at a different couple’s house.
During our last dinner club, the host couple brought out a little box of cards after our meal. On the cards were questions that prompted conversation about our life. Some questions made us laugh. Others allowed us to peer into our friend’s past and see experiences that shaped their lives.
It dawned on me as I listened to one of my closest friends share an experience from his past, I never knew he had gone through such a challenging experience. It made me appreciate his friendship, and admire his life even more.
I mention this for a reason. Questions help us learn things about our spouse we didn’t know. It’s a way of connecting and giving our spouse permission to open up.
If you don’t know what to ask or how to get started, I have a few recommendations.
First, read this article about how a psychologist made two strangers fall in love by having them discuss a series of specific questions. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, another organization put those same questions to the test with another couple (total strangers). They too fell in love and married.
The reason this happened was the questions prompted the couples to get to know each other on a deeper, more intimate level.
Second, try using communication question cards so you don’t have to think up questions on your own.
Try this. Each night during dinner (preferably after dinner when things have settled down), pull out a few cards and discuss the questions with your spouse.
Each time we do this, I learn something new about my wife. It keeps our love fresh and alive as we continue to explore each others’ dreams, visions, and even pains. It is a wonderful way to connect.
4. Don’t Forget It Is About Connecting
Sometimes when couples begin to share their thoughts and dreams, it challenges the other partner. They might become defensive, fearful, or uncertain. This can cause tension.
Or, perhaps one partner uses this opportunity to talk about an issue that’s bothering them. This too can cause the situation to turn ugly.
It’s important to remember your ‘talk time’ is about connecting. It’s not about getting stuff off your mind that’s been building up. This might need to happen, but it should not be the agenda of this time. Schedule a time to discuss tough subjects, but keep this time for connecting and supporting one another.
5. Protect Your Time
Successful, happy couples don’t create a great marriage by accident. They do things that give themselves the opportunity to connect and get closer. They carve out time to be together without distractions.
And they protect that time as if their life depends on it. Because it does.
Protecting your time doesn’t mean you create a routine that can’t be changed. It DOES mean when the routine changes, you replace it with another option. In other words, if you normally talk after dinner but something comes up and you can’t keep your ‘appointment with your spouse,’ you reschedule. Don’t just let it drop.
I learned this from Peter Daniels. He believed that every time you compromise your commitment, you undermine your own success.
He once made a commitment to make his bed before leaving for work. Upon arriving at his office, he realized he had forgotten to make the bed. Instead of chalking it up to forgetfulness and promising to do better tomorrow, he got back in his car, drove home, and made his bed.
He commented on this: ‘If I make an excuse for not keeping my promise today, it will be easier to make another excuse tomorrow.’
I realize we are not talking about making beds, but the principle applies. Make a promise to connect on a regular basis and keep your promise. If you fail one day, don’t let it happen again. Reschedule, but don’t just write it off with an excuse.
6. Enjoy Your Time with Your Spouse
I hear couples say all the time, ‘My husband (or wife) is my best friend.’ I often wonder if they truly mean it.
In my opinion, this should be our goal. Our spouse is our partner. Partner in life. Work. Ministry. Service. And love. It should be the relationship we experience the most emotional security.
As you plan your time together, make it a goal to enjoy each other. As you learn new things about your spouse, learn to appreciate those things.
Final Thoughts on How to Increase Communication in a Marriage
One of the most vital aspects of any successful marriage is communication. Trust and understanding are paramount to a successful union, which is why it’s so important to have a healthy dialogue at all times. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can do this.
We’ve explored five reasons communication is important in marriage. We also looked at six practical things you can do to increase the depth of communication in your relationship.
Knowing how to increase communication in your marriage is vital. While communication is a skill, it is one that can be learned. It takes work, but since marriage is a partnership, it is worth the effort and energy it takes to make sure you connect with your spouse.
Recap of what we covered:
- Why Communication is so Important
- Reason #1: Communication makes it possible to talk about problems in your marriage.
- Reason #2: Good communication allows you to acknowledge each other’s feelings without being defensive.
- Reason #3: Communication helps you feel understood when you are upset.
- Reason #4: Good communication allows your spouse to share his or her perceptions of a situation without being defensive.
- Reason #5: Good communication allows disagreements between the two of you to be resolved quicker and more effectively.
- Why Couples Experience Communication Problems
- Practical Steps To Increase Communication
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