Are you a couple that struggles communicating in healthy and effective ways? Have you become frustrated at the breakdown of communication affects your relationship? Do you want to communicate better but don’t know what to do or where to start?
Despite the simplicity of these shortcuts, many people struggle with doing most of these things despite their best intentions. However, these ‘life hacks’ can help you and your partner/spouse get to a better place even if you are stuck in sadness, anger, disappointment, and resentment. That being said, I recognize that making changes to improve your relationship will be challenging, but I also believe that in some part of your brain, you know it will help your relationship or marriage.
To get to a happier and healthier place and work through the negative feelings you are experiencing, doing these things will help your relationship exponentially if you take the initial steps and decide that you really want to change your relationship communication.
1.) Make a commitment to yourself and to your partner/spouse you both want to make changes. This is paramount.
2.) Begin with a soft start up asking, is this a good time to talk? If not, when would be a good time for both of us?
3.) Create a safe space. Turning towards them as a way to bid for their time and attention helps people get connected. They feel like a team.
4.) Decide that no ideas are bad ideas. The goal is to start the process of talking, listening, and resolving. This often means both people making suggestions to get to a better conclusion. Learn to listen and reflect so that your partner or spouse feels they are being heard. There is nothing more important than that feeling. It simply diffuses the tension.
5.) Each person gets time to speak, with NO interruptions by the other person. No exception. If you struggle with this, get a pad of paper and write things down.
6.) Watch your tone and inflection. Being mean, snarky, rolling your eyes, being dramatic, demanding, and defensive will keep you and your relationship in ‘park.’ Talk to them like you would a friend. Be kind even if the other person isn’t. Learn to bring your best self to every conversation.
7.) There is no success in mind reading. It never works. Ask the questions in a way to understand your partner or spouse. People who try to mind read are by and large, most of the time, wrong.
8.) Sometimes agreeing to disagree is the option.
9.) Decide do you have to make a decision now or can it wait? Meaning some things the time is more imminent. If it can wait, create shorter, exploratory conversations that will ultimately allow you to assess the situation in its entirety and come up with a resolution or decision.
10.) Think about a conversation that ended up in an argument or fight and decide individually how you would have done things differently. This will allow you to take stock of your responsibility in the argument and listen to the other person.
11.) Tell your partner/spouse what YOU need in these situations. Not what you expect, but what you need. This will also allow you to listen to your partner/spouse as well.
12.) Extend the olive branch. It goes a long way. Offer an apology – which is not just a simple, I’m sorry! It’s actually a five step process to offer a sincere apology.
Eventually, making the small changes, will give you the big changes. A happier and healthier relationship or marriage.
Still struggling or not sure how to begin? Let’s talk!