Experts agree the secret to a long marriage is learning to communicate. According to Drs. Les and Lesley Parrott in Saving your Marriage Before it Starts, “Almost 97 percent who rate communication with their partner as excellent are happily married, compared to only 56 percent who rate their communication as poor.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the 97 percent. Here are some helpful tips how you can do that.
1.Make time to talk to each other
Make a point of trying to connect at least a couple times during the day. If you aren’t use to doing this, start small with saying “I was just thinking about you and wondering how your day was going”. If you aren’t allowed to talk on the phone during the day, send each other a quick text message. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation every time. When couples stop talking that can be a sign that something is wrong.
2.Make “I” statements instead of “you” statements
When your spouse hears you say “You never take the trash out” they will get defensive and stop listening. Try saying “I would really appreciate it if you would take the trash out sometime today since they are picking it up tomorrow”. By saying it like this, you aren’t blaming each other and they won’t feel you are criticizing them. You are able to express your feelings without making your spouse feel bad.
Remember communication is not always about what you say, but what your partner thinks they heard.
3.Be transparent and ask for what you want.
Remember we are not mind readers. We can’t assume our spouse knows everything we are thinking if we don’t verbalize it. Don’t be afraid to speak your needs and ask for what you want. Wouldn’t you rather be transparent and tell each other how you feel? We all were raised differently and may have picked up some bad habits about communicating. We don’t need to waste time getting offended because we think the other person should automatically know what we want.
4. Understand the differences between men and women.
Men and women think very differently. Women are more apt to share their feelings where men try to solve problems. As women we don’t always want our husbands to solve our problem. Sometimes we just need to vent. If you tell your husband you just need to vent and don’t need him to fix it, let him know ahead of time. If you would like him to help solve a problem then ask.
5. Remember that timing is everything.
If your spouse just came home from work and you can tell they had a bad day and is worried about getting laid off, it may not be the best time to talk about planning your next vacation. Use common sense when you are going to try to discuss important things. If you are a morning person and your spouse is a night owl you may have to find a time in the afternoon or early evening that works well to talk.
Just because you have something on your mind right then doesn’t mean it is always a good time to discuss it. Pay attention to each others moods and how tired they are. Try to start using some of these methods and watch how your relationship can start improving.