7 Communication Tips Every Couple Should Know

Conflict Resolution | Marriage | Personal Growth

Communication is a two way street.

John Maxwell says “everyone communicates, few connect.”

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’

7 Communication tips every couple should know

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

Linking with Wifey Wednesday, we are That Family, Wise woman. Titus 2sdays

43 Comments

  1. Hi, # 4 I agree with, but…
    I’m having trouble with my husband wanting to sleep in another room… He says that he gets hot and needs to sleep on the sofa, but I am left feeling alone. When you I brought this to his attention and told him that satan was trying to separate us, he called me crazy. I’m at loss, the more I ask himto sleep in rthe same bed, the more he pulls away. Can someone help me or just pray for us, we are newly married and I didn’t expect this at all. I’ve tried to come up with every solution for him being hot, but he just demands me to leave him alone. I’m new to being a wife, I don’t really know where to go from here. Our marriage seems to be slowly more and more distanced.

    1. Hi AC, it’s not easy, being a new wife and husband, so many adjustments to go through. I am glad you’ve read this, and hopefully other “newlywed wife” posts in the archives. I have prayed for you and your husband. Typically men and women respond differently to challenges/adjustments in marriage. I’d encourage you to seek to understand the root of your husband’s issue, first by getting with God. I don’t know if you have a godly mentor you can talk to, it would be very helpful.

      1. Heena Bodh says:

        Jst go n sleep with him on sofa holding him tight …

  2. I found these tips to be very helpful, especially the part about how you can’t change your partner but you can always better yourself. By taking responsibility for my actions rather than blaming everything on someone else, I might actually improve the relationship rather than ultimately ending it. I think this article (www.psychalive.org/2009/06/communication-between-couples/) is quite helpful as well.

    1. Tamara, am glad you found the tips helpful. The article from Psychology for life is awesome, filled with great counsel. Thanks for coming by and sharing with us.

  3. My new discovery…I like the site.

    Per this article, very true statements in here. In line with these is that there must be continuous and conscious effort to preserve agreement in relationships. There is power when 2 can stand in agreement.

  4. messymarriage says:

    These are great, Ngina! I do know that being a good listener is one of the best ways to connect. And many people don’t really know how to listen actively. I’m so glad you’re highlighting that in this post, as well as so many other great insights! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you Beth! I like your observation – many people don’t know how to listen actively. It’s something that am still learning but I’ve discovered that listening well often means letting go of negative emotions and thoughts, misconceptions and judgement. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. “Swallowing your words won’t give you a bad stomach.” Ouch at that! I have learned about not sharing everything and especially waiting for a right time to share.

    Great tips, Ngina. I think pride and unforgiveness gets in the way of communication with the people you love. Why else do we go about being so good to total strangers while disregarding the very people whom are closest to us.

    I was also given a tip derived from Philippians 4:8. Telling people the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy about them. Thank you, great and funny post.

    1. JepB, this is huge – being good to total strangers while disregarding those closest to us. I think we all should ponder and examine our hearts. From experience, i think that familiarity has something to do with it. We take our loved ones for granted and easily forget our “first love”.

      May we walk in humility and forgiveness for therein lies true life. Thank you so much for reading and adding to the discussion.

      1. I love what you said. In humility and forgiveness lies true life.

        Forgetting our first love happens when we stop appreciating the good in what is familiar. We only remember the bad and easily compliment others who are strangers to us. Well said. I appreciate you too.

  6. Sorry, your comment was caught up in spam 🙂 Thanks for sharing the links. It’s a powerful book and you’ve done a great job in these posts.

  7. I’m not good at #3, so #4 is very helpful for me. Especially like that we need to define when “later” is. I’ll use that in the future! Thanks.

    1. I am glad it helps TC. Defining that ‘later’ isn’t always easy and sometimes it’s even harder to keep our word! it’s been quite a journey for us..but everything begins with knowledge. Once we know our options, it’s always better than when we didn’t 🙂

      1. AMEN! Knowledge is power but it also brings great responsibility. Like you said, hard to keep our word at times 🙂

  8. Great points Ngina!!! At the center of a good marriage is great communication. My wife and myself are reading The Five Love Languages which talk about finding and speaking your spouses love language. the five are speaking words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. It is helping each of us remember how to better connect and serve each other.

    1. That’s such a good book Dan, it’s been years since I read it. I think I’ll get that for my spouse and I’s next couples book. Thanks for reminding me about it!

      1. It’s a good one. Great idea, I think you two will really enjoy reading it again.

        1. I don’t think he’s ever read it and it’s been years since I have. In fact, I think they have a newer version?

    2. That is an awesome book Dan. We have read it and it just changed how we do marriage. The challenge , after reading it, is to keep doing what you have discovered 🙂 It’s a profound read and i know you and your wife will be blessed and challenged to the next level.

      1. Great! I agree, keeping it up can be difficult.

        Also thank you for mentioning my eBook. Your great!

  9. Wow, there’s so much wisdom here, Ngina and also a lot of funny things – I laughed at #3 and #4.

    In our early years of marriage I would get really mad at my husband because he wouldn’t want to stay up all night and work out all our problems (oops – i just had a Freudian slip there – I typed all “my” problems rather than all “our” problems).

    I’d think of that verse that says “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” and be mad at my husband for not following the verse. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it doesn’t take two to get over my anger – it only takes me!

    So I suppose if I were going to add any advice I’d add – keep working on your own sin because that affects communication. Actually – I think you already brought that up in the last point.

    You are so wise, Ngina – your lucky husband!

    1. Barb, I went through the exact same thing! Trying to get him to talk when he was done talking..not the smartest thing to do. And my holier than thou attitude..it made a huge stink.

      I finally learned that agreeing to talk about it later helped much more than trying to push things.

      “it doesn’t take two to get over my anger!”. That’s a profound discovery!
      oh iam the blessed one! I married a wise man 🙂

      1. I guess you’re both blessed! 🙂 And I could totally relate to your first paragraph – made me laugh.

  10. davejarnold16@gmail.com says:

    Great reminder, Ngina. I try to live out Ephesians 4:29 everyday: “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only that which builds up.”

  11. These are great tips. I think one critical tip that has helped my wife and I is to have regular times to get together and do preventative maintenance in communication. That helps us avoid a breakdown or a blowup later on.

    1. Loren, preventive maintenance is a great approach. Most couples tend to take the ‘if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it” approach. It feels ‘easier’ but it’s costlier in the end. Thanks for sharing

  12. These are some powerful tips on Communicating in Marriage. I can’t tell you how important #6. Communication is one of the biggest break downs in marriage. Also humility, as we all want to be right and understood, listened to and mind read. Its so funny at the communication gap after so many years. But guess what? God put us together, and just like we have to work daily to get close to him, we have to with our spouse. Great post Ngina.

    1. Lincoln, communication is huge. I know there are statistics out there that put finances/intimacy up there in terms of what causes the most struggles. I tend to think that it’s a lack of communication about these things that causes the struggles. I like that addition – humility is important. Your last line is a gem..mind it i tweet it?

    1. John has a book titled “everyone communicates, few connect”. I haven’t read it though but am sure it’s awesome! Thanks for dropping in.

  13. Excellent article and timing. I think we all need a reminder in order to stay in the best place we can. I’m amazed how powerful this tool is. Thanks for your advice and obedience to your calling.

    1. Floyd, it’s a crucial area. Our marriages get stronger and healthier when we work on improving it. Thank you for your encouragement and thoughts.

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