According to a study reported in the Journal of Marriage and Family, communication between married partners directly influences satisfaction in the marriage. Effective communication leads to higher satisfaction.
In this article, we will explore 9 tips to effective communication in marriage so you can take small steps toward improving your marriage.
Effective Communication in a Marriage
Many couples think communication involves the way they speak to one another, if they have conversations daily, or if they argue a lot. Communication is a great deal more than the words we say. There are multiple ways in which couples communicate, including nonverbal such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language.
Another way couples communicate is through writing. In earlier years, this may have meant notes, cards and letters. While some couples still communicate this way, others use text and email to write messages.
Additional communication forms include touching and emotions. To achieve effective communication in a marriage, you both must practice ways to enhance all of these forms. Below are nine tips to help you.
1. Respect Your Partner
Speaking to your partner with respect is the first tip to effective communication in a marriage. If you are disrespectful in how you speak, use body language, use touch or express emotions, positivity will diminish.
When your partner is talking, listen with positive intent. Hear their point of view and try understanding emphatically.
2. Do Not Delay Communication
It is important to not delay a conversation about an issue when establishing effective communication in a marriage. Delaying communication without a promised time when you will be back to discuss the issue often makes the problem worse and can build on top of other problems that have been put off. Eventually a fight will occur from many unresolved conflicts built up often the cause of resentments.
Instead, talk about an issue soon after it happens so you can resolve it, let it go, and move on.
3. Use “I” instead of “You”
Too often, couples point the finger at the other, blaming their partner for the reason they are upset. This only makes your partner defensive and angry.
Changing your words is a simple yet powerful way to build effective communication in a marriage. Tell your spouse how their behavior made you feel rather than telling them what they did wrong.
For example, if you tell your partner your feelings were hurt when they did not get you an anniversary gift, rather than berating them for not getting a present, they will likely better understand your point of view.
4. Listen and Reflect
Listening seems simple, yet so many find it hard to do correctly. Coming up with a quick response or defense gets in the way of truly hearing what your partner is saying.
To listen well, do not speak when you partner is speaking. Do not think about anything other than what your partner is saying. Reflect or repeat to them what they have just said to let them know you heard them. Both listening and reflections are key steps to effective communication in a marriage.
5. Communicate in Person
The technology of today makes it possible to communicate through video conferencing, text messages, and email. Technology can also make it easier for us to say things we may not say in person. However, to have effective communication in a marriage, in person is the way to go.
This is because so many other factors go into communication. Your spouse cannot see your body language through texts, they cannot feel your emotions, they cannot touch you. All of these factors are extremely important in improving and enriching your communication skills.
6. Make Each Other a Priority
What you spend the most time on will likely be the most successful in your life. If you spend most of your time at work, your professional life will be a success. If you spend most of your time with family, your family life will be successful.
Make your spouse a priority and spend quality time together. You cannot build effective communication in a marriage if you are never together. You both need time alone to continue the closeness you felt when you fell in love.
7. Show Affection
Communication is more than just words; it is actions too. Your actions verify what you say to your spouse. If you tell your spouse you love them but then never do anything nice for them, they may lose trust in what you say.
If you say, “I love you” and then find ways to show them affection, you become credible and your words start to have meaning. Build effective communication in a marriage by leaving love notes, kissing your partner without wanting it to lead to sex, sending flowers, holding hands and other basics that are easy to implement.
8. Be Okay with Losing
Building effective communication in a marriage means sometimes disengaging from an argument. If you disengage, the argument ends, not all conflicts are worth the effort.
If you take a moment to think about the topic of your argument, also think if it is worth the fight. It is okay to lose an argument to avoid a fight. Simply choose to let your spouse win. Doing so can help you both avoid further distress.
9. Learn to Apologize
Effective communication in a marriage means you can admit to your spouse when you are wrong. Apologizing quickly is much better than waiting or being coerced to say it.
A simple apology can be the difference between a quick ending to an argument or many days of feeling angry and hurt. Taking accountability is admirable, admit what you did wrong, and communicate with your partner on how to avoid that action in the future.
In conclusion, there are many more tips to effective communication in a marriage however; these are a few you can start working on today.
If you struggle to make these changes, do not give up. Instead, reach out for help to a marriage and family therapist. They are specialists in the area of improving communication in a marriage. They will help you both individually and as a couple or family.
A therapist can help you do everything possible to improve the communication in your marriage. Your relationship is worth the effort.