“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open and Two-Way.” Dan Oswald hit this one on the nail. There is no way you can have a healthy marriage or any relationship without proper communication with your partner. Being on the same page with how you feel is vital to know where you stand together. If you aren’t able to communicate properly, it’s impossible to be on the same page. Since there are plenty of ways to improve this building block of relationships, let me show you the 8 ways that I have found to be successful.
1. Avoid using judgmental words and attacking them.
During a intense argument with your spouse, your feelings are hurt. Whether you are expressing that through sadness or anger, you are in full on defense mode. It may seem easier to point the finger at them and be tempted to put them down. However, this is counter productive while trying to improve communication with your partner.
When this feeling arises, think about why you are with them. Do you really want to hurt them? Is hurting their feelings back going to help you both resolve the situation?
2. Avoid Comparisons.
"Why can't you be more like Mike's girlfriend?"
"You're so heartless, just like your dad"
"None of my exes were as clingy as you are."
Being negatively compared to someone can hurt. No one wants to be compared to an ex or other successful partners. Saying these things to your loved one is the complete opposite of resolving the issue. So even in the heat of the moment, we need to be sure you don't hurt each other's feelings even further.
3. Avoid Using Terms That Begin With "You".
While using terms that begin with "You". When we do this, it signals to them that they are entirely to blame. That doesn't mean you have to pretend that they are faultless, but the language you are using is saying that in a different way.
Try using statements that focus on how you feel instead of what they are doing. Begin these sentences "I" instead. Let them know how you feel when they do something that hurts you.
4. Be Aware Of Your Body Language.
Non-verbal communication makes up 55% of communication of a conversation with your partner. Ensure your body language demonstrates openness. Face your partner and give them your undivided attention. Eye contact is also important. If you won't look at your partner, that will give them cues without you even saying anything. It will make them think you aren't interested in resolving the issue or that what their attention is focused on is more important than them.
5. Keep the past in the past.
When you are addressing an issue, it's important you stay focused on the task at hand. By slipping back into past history it can make the entire conversation shift to that issue. Talking about past events can be beneficial for you as a couple to acknowledge the issue and be useful but only when you both are calm and "on the same page". If brought up during an argument it can make already heated conversations turn ugly really fast. It can make them feel like you are still mad at them for something they thought you had already forgave and move past together.
As simple as this sounds, it's something many couples struggle with. You both are having an immense amount of feelings at once and it can be easy to focus on getting your point across clearly. However, you are not the only one feeling upset. Communication with your partner strongly relies on having a two-way street. You both have to ensure you are letting the other complete their thought and tell you how they feel. If you steam roll and interrupt them while they are trying to communicate, it defeats the purpose and hurts their feelings even further.
7. Recognize each other's needs.
If there is an argument, there is a need that is not being met. Whether that need is yours or not, communication with your partner is the only way you'll be able to unmask what they are missing. Once you are both able to speak on what it is you need, you can begin to make a plan to avoid making the mistake in the future.
8. Make a plan.
Every conflict needs a resolution. Once you were able to resolve the issue at hand using proper communication with your partner, you can move forward. What can you do to ensure that you avoid this problem in the future? What steps can they take to help? At the end of the day you both are a team. You chose eachother as teammates for a reason and teamwork is imparative in order to solve issues.
Communication with your partner is hard to master.
Unfortunately, how to communicate healthily to your partner is a vital skill that is rarely taught. Although learning by example is a great way to learn, most people aren’t lucky enough to have grown up with a healthy marriage to model.
Focus on what you do know about healthy relationships and model ones you see are successful. No marriage or relationship is perfect. Despite what you see on the outside, they have the same problems and the same conversations you have. Focus on being the best partner you can be and prioritize good communication with your partner during a discussion.
Seek first to understand. Listen to understand, not to reply. Communication is what makes a team strong. Encourage each other to be your best you.
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