Enough Already – Again With The Communication!
What’s Your Score
I know you’ve heard it before that a healthy marriage requires good communication.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
You might have “communication fatigue” from hearing it so much. I hear you.
But I have one simple question for you to answer: On a scale of a hundred, how would you score the quality of your marital communication?
If you can honestly tell me that your score is 92 or higher, then you have my permission to stop reading; class dismissed.
But if it’s under 92, then keep reading. After all, do you want a slightly above average marriage or a great marriage?
Breaking It Down
If you want to have a happy and healthy marriage, then your communication must be:
- Consistent & clear
- Honest & accurate
- Supportive and loving
If your marriage is deteriorating then it’s probably because of inferior communication. When we talk about communicating, what we’re really talking about is expressing our thoughts in such a way that our spouse understands what we think, believe and feel.
Communication isn’t the act of simply voicing your thoughts; true communication is the process of creating understanding.
Where Did It Begin?
To the best of your ability, what’s the history of your communication? Has it always been challenging? Or was there a time when the communication in your marriage was exceptional? And if it was exceptional, what made it so?
Can you identify when your communication started to deteriorate? What was happening in your marriage at the time?
The reason I’m asking these questions is that many couples, when they take time to evaluate their communication patterns, realize it has been a challenge since the beginning of their relationship. Why?
Love Doesn’t Conquer All
Sometimes couples gloss over their communication problems during the early days of their relationship because they believe that love conquers all.
Well it doesn’t.
Add a mortgage, careers, debt, religion and kids into the mix and you will quickly find that love doesn’t automatically increase the quality of your communication, at least not for most people.
What’s worse is that for some couples either the husband or wife didn’t feel free/safe to fully share their thoughts and feelings, for whatever reason, when they first got together. So there are issues in their marriage that have smoldered under the surface for years – maybe even decades. And one of these days it’s all going to blow.
If you decided to just go along with whatever your partner thought and said in the early days of your relationship, then you owe it to yourself and marriage to stop drifting along and to start sharing whatever is important to you.
Play Nice When Asserting Yourself
If much time has passed since you first started having issues with your spouse or marriage, then it’s safe to assume that your spouse doesn’t realize that you might have a problem with anything – and how could they if you’ve never said anything about it?
So there are two rules here. The first is to be kind when you assert yourself. And the second one is to be kind if your spouse is the one who is asserting himself or herself; you owe it to them to listen and acknowledge what’s on their mind and heart.
When you start really communicating with each other, you WILL encounter:
- Differences and
This is okay.
And it’s even okay at the end of the day to agree to disagree.
If communication is deteriorating, then it’s quite possible that it’s because of one of these vampires that when left unchecked will suck the love out of your marriage:
- A lack of time with each
- Job stress
- Misplaced priorities (Example, the marriage takes second place to other interests and pursuits)
- Ineffective use of time leaving you in overwhelm and overload
How To Re-establish Communication
The good news is that regardless of the quality of your marriage relationship or the level of frustration you feel right now, you can turn things around by re-establishing the lines of communication.
It can be done.
Others have done it and so can you. Consider these tips:
1. Reassess your priorities
Do you want an average marriage or a great marriage? If you want a great marriage then you must have great communication AND make your marriage your first priority – not golf, work, or your hobbies; your relationship with your spouse comes first.
2. Give your marriage and spouse your focus
Your relationship needs your time and attention to grow.
How much time and attention do you give your spouse?
If your relationship isn’t doing well, then you might be intentionally giving your spouse less of your attention. But what do you think will happen if this pattern continues, will your marriage get better or worse?
3. Learn good communication skills
Communication is a skill; skills are learned. So if you don’t measure up in the communication department then see a marriage counselor with your spouse to learn effective ways to communicate with each other – and practice regularly what you learn.
What Is Great Communication?
When do you know if what you and your wife have is great communication?
When you can talk about anything under the sun whether trivial or important; when you feel the emotional security and freedom to share whatever is on your mind or heart – when you can share your beliefs, convictions, wants, desires, your likes and dislikes knowing that your spouse will acknowledge, listen and support you without ridicule, contempt or disrespect – even if you disagree.
It’s within your power to create a marital environment where great communication is the standard and not the exception.
How do you become an excellent communicator? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice. Practice. Practice.
Great communication is the result of honesty, love, practice, patience, respect, time and experience.