It’s pretty obvious that communication is important for a healthy marriage. Not only that, but bad communication can devastate a marriage.
When I think through the communication patterns I see in others’ marriages and in my own marriage, I can pick up a few key principles that are crucial to good communication. I hope this gives you somewhere to start if you’re looking to improve communication with your spouse.
- Recognize each spouse’s value. As a person on this earth, your spouse is valuable. The same is true for you, and neither of you is more or less valuable than the other. This realization will change the way you communicate. Each partner has needs and ideas. Your spouse’s needs are valuable, but so are yours. Internalizing this idea leads to the important idea of “Even though I don’t understand why this is important to you, it is, so we will work together to meet this need,” as well as “I know you don’t understand why this is important to me, but it is, so I’d love for you to hear me out”
- Choose your battles. This was my mom’s marriage advice, and it’s so true. Some things are absolutely worth voicing your opinion and even potentially arguing about. Other things aren’t. Don’t pick fights about the small things so that when it comes to the big things, you can be more open to working together.
- Use the criticism sandwich. Basically, instead of nagging about something, start with a positive, present your concern, then end with a positive. Example: “You have been working so hard lately and I know you’re exhausted, but I feel unappreciated when you ___ (leave clothes on the floor, forget to ask how my day was, etc.). I like to know you care because you mean so much to me.” Of course, you may say something in a completely different way than that, but you get the idea. Simply nagging or complaining will cause your spouse to get defensive and nothing will change. Presenting your criticism surrounded with positivity goes a long way.
- Speak words of affirmation. This is especially true if your spouse’s love language is Words of Affirmation. Regardless of your spouse’s love language, making a conscious effort to speak words of affirmation is crucial to good communication. This can be in the form of encouragement (expressing your belief in your partner’s abilities) or compliment (praising your spouse’s physical qualities, personality, or achievements). If this feels awkward at first, consider writing it out in a card or letter. You’re almost guaranteed to make their day!
- Be mindful of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is everything but the words you say. Consider how your body language, focus, tone of voice, and facial expressions are communicating. One of the biggest gifts you can give your spouse is your undivided attention.
- Communicate consistently. Beware of speaking negatively of your spouse to others. Even if your partner isn’t there, speaking negatively of him or her can be a quick way to drive a wedge between the two of you. Build your partner up when you’re face-to-face, but then be sure to maintain consistency when speaking with others.
There are my tips. Do you have any to add? I love hearing the wisdom of others when it comes to marriage, because so many people have learned so much from experience.
Share your marriage communication tips in the comments section below!
Related posts you may enjoy:
Join me as I share new content about personal development, relationships, and wellness each Tuesday and Thursday:
Follow on Facebook
Subscribe to New Posts by Email