Communication is a two way street.
John Maxwell says “everyone communicates, few connect.”
photo credit: angela highfield
Deborah Humphries and Eboni J. Baugh of University of Florida say
“Communication consists of verbal messages (what you say), contextual issues (how you say it), emotional tone (why you say it), and even non-verbal cues (what you don’t say),”
7 Communication tips every couple should know
1. Communication is much more than talking.
A moving mouth doesn’t solve problems. A listening heart does (or at least it moves you closer to a solution)
To truly communicate, you need to touch your spouse’s heart and emotion. You must hear beyond the spoken word.
2. Listening to your spouse does not necessarily mean you agree with everything they are saying.
So often we afraid that our silence will be mistaken for acquiescence.
So we cut in – with words, body language e.t.c.
But listening to your spouse does not mean you agree with everything they are saying.
It just means you are giving them time to share their heart. Without judgment and interruption.
Penny Foreman, a marriage and family therapist says,
“Feelings are not facts, but they are essential in understanding why your partner is responding to you in certain ways. You can spend a lot of time arguing about the facts and completely discount your partner’s feelings”
Be still. Listen.
3. Swallowing your words won’t give you a bad stomach.
You don’t have to share all your thoughts and feelings.
Try to remember your goal in having that conversation in the first place. Is it to better your relationship?
Speak words that steer you in that direction. And if you can’t swallow your words, skip to # 4.
4. It’s okay to sleep over it. In the same bed.
Just like you don’t have to share everything, you don’t have to iron out all creases the first time round. Sometimes you may not get anywhere near the first crease.
Agree to talk about it later. Define when ‘later’ is. And be sure to go back to it.
And sleep in the same bed. Sleeping apart widens the heart gap. It feeds your anger and the desire to pull away and separate.
In my early days of marriage and when I was tempted to sleep in the sofa I’d remind myself that my ‘sofa’ would one day ‘graduate’ to my ‘mom’s house’
The point is, try to keep the relationship going (however hard that may be) even in the midst of storms. Don’t feed the ‘separator’, feed the ‘connector’
5. The closed-heart syndrome (an uncommunicative spouse) is often indicative of a deeper personal issue.
So pray for these deeper issues, stop trying to break down the door, no matter how tempting that is. Seek godly counsel.
6. If you have communication challenges (I think we all struggle), don’t give up.
Be creative and look for ways to share concerns. Remember # 1 (that communication is a two way street) – you can’t force it.
But don’t use that as an excuse to stop working on your relationship.
Always do what you can, when you can. Work on your friendship, build other areas. It will ultimately impact your connection. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
7. Keep working on yourself.
“If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” – Earl Nightingle ( quote from Dan Black’s free ebook)
Become an expert on you.
You can’t change your spouse.
Even if they were a perfect communicator, they’d still be different from you – gender, upbringing, life experiences e.t.c. One way or another, you would need to change and adjust.
Question – What other communication tips can you add? Please share in Comments
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