4 Healthy Communication Tools To Start Your Relationship Off Right
Rebecca E. Samson
Almost every book or article about marriage today talks about communication as key to a successful and happy marriage. Starting off your marriage right with proven methods of communication will help you to create a strong foundation for love and support and working things out before they become problems.
We’ve compiled a few proven methods for good communication. Read through this list and consider discussing it with your chatan or husband on your next date over a great dessert or relaxing walk. Which approach works for you? Let him tell you which methods he finds most comfortable and tell him which you find appealing.
Communicating about communication is an excellent way to show your partner that you care about him or her and want to have the most positive and loving marriage.
Below are 4 different communication tactics you can practice. This way when a potential source of conflict arises, you are ready to hear one another and work it out.
Reflecting is a tool that ensures that you hear what your spouse is saying. It lets them know if they are communicating effectively and shows them that you are listening.
For example, if your chosson/chatan is upset that you arrived late for a dinner date, instead of defending yourself with all of the valid reasons for your late arrival, acknowledge his feelings, like this: “I understand that you’re upset that I was late and because of that we missed the reservation you arranged over a week ago. I realize that’s frustrating and I’m very sorry.” This lets him know that you care about and acknowledge his feelings, and that you feel bad that he is upset. Hopefully, it will also prevent an escalation of emotions and allow you to move forward and leave the incident behind you.
- “I feel” statements
I feel” statements specify how you “feel”, what your spouse did to make you “feel” that way, and what either of you can do instead, and which will result in less hurt or conflict. For example, if your husband is upset when you talk or look at your phone while you are speaking to him, instead of his yelling or just being upset, he should say, “I feel unimportant when you do look at your phone while I’m speaking to you, It is rude. I need you to look at me when I’m speaking to you so that I know you are listening and care about what I am saying.” The reverse is true as well. If you are on the phone chatting with your sister or a friend when your husband comes home, hang up the phone. Understand how he feels. Hopefully, the acknowledgement of the behavior by both of you will help to express what is upsetting in a calm manner, and allow the “hurt” behavior to be changed.
3. Prevent Assumptions
Always remember that your spouse is not a mind reader. Be clear about each other’s needs so that no one has to guess. Hoping someone will guess how you feel inevitably leads to disappointment and frustration. If you need something, say it outright. “I need help with dinner tonight. Can you please pick it up the eggs, potatoes, etc. or help me prepare it?” or “I need you to go over the bills with me and work on our budget so that we are “on the same page” and managing our finances correctly.” Being clear is the only way to avoid miscommunication and frustration in not getting what you need.
- Nurtured Heart Approach
This approach was originally crafted for children and adults, but has been found to be helpful between two adults. Statements of appreciation reinforce behavior patterns that you like and encourage them to expand to other areas. For example, when your spouse does something that makes you feel good, say, “I really appreciate that you picked up the kids today when I was running late, it shows me that you understood my need for help and were there for me.” This shows your spouse that you appreciate his/her help and gives positive encouragement for it to continue.
*** These communication tools may seem funny to try at first, but when you adapt them to your own style and relationship, they can prevent many fights and potential sources of conflict. A little effort in improving communication can bring tremendously positive relationship results.
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