Experts have suggested if some couples worked as hard on their marriage as they worked on their wedding we’d all have much better marriages. The truth is a marriage is hard work, regardless of what you read in books or see on television, and one of the most important factors of a good marriage is communication.
Communication and a healthy relationship
So experts have put together a list of seven communication strategies that can help you understand your emotions and help you and your partner communicate, although this article will address only five. Now, if you are considering divorce you might think communication is less important. The truth, however, is that communication with your ex-spouse, especially if you have children together, is still important. So what do the experts say? In their article, “7 Keys to Make a Relationship Work,” Melissa and Jake Kircher have listed some ideas.
1. Stop trying to win
Whether or not you are having an argument or simply trying to prove a point if you are dealing with a spouse you should not try to win. Winning may help you feel validated and you might want your partner to acknowledge you are right but as one expert said, “Would you rather be right or would you rather have intimacy?” I choose intimacy every time.
2. Learn to Fight Fair
Melissa and Jake Kircher call it initiation, I call it learning to fight fair, but the question is whether or not you come to a conversation or argument already angry with your gloves up swinging. There is a right way and a wrong way to start any discussion about an issue which is upsetting you. Maturity allows you to communicate your emotions in a way that does not attack the other person.
In the age of 101 technological gadgets, distractions are rampant. But if you want to connect with your spouse you not only need to put all distractions aside, you need to be actively listening to them. This could be as simple as looking at them when they talk (that’s why the DVR was created), or it could mean you need to acknowledge what you think you are hearing them say. For instance, “If I heard you right, I think I heard you say…” Something this simple can transform your relationship. Everyone wants to be heard.
I don’t know what it is but some women, not all, seem to be especially bad at timing. Timing is everything when it comes to communication. If you want to be heard, really heard, don’t try and talk to your football loving spouse at kick-off of the Cowboy’s game. Make sure both of you are well-rested, you have eaten, you are in a safe place and you are not in the middle of something you may have been looking forward to all week. According to experts, “Couples that actively work to find good times to deal with issues will probably find they are better able to handle their emotions as they work things out.”
Everyone falls victim to defensiveness, especially when they feel like they are being attacked, but if you find you are defensive with your spouse, friends, co-workers or anyone else on a consist basis it may be time to talk to a professional counselor. There are some real issues of vulnerability which may be leading you to communicate and interact with others in an effort to preserve yourself from future injury.
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