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Communicating For A Better Marriage

Aug 17, 2007
Every marriage suffers times of trial but in todays society it is so easy to simply walk away without trying to fix things. Sadly, most of us WANT to stay married but many lack the knowledge of what to do to keep the marriage going.

One way to help get your marriage back on track is to properly communicate with your spouse. When talking to your spouse, honesty is the best policy. However, in saying that, you must be mindful of two important procedures when being honest. The first, be sure to speak truth in love. At times honesty will be painful; therefore, you should consider saying what needs to be said with tenderness and compassion.

You should always take into consideration of the one you are speaking with, in other words, empathize with them. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you were the one being told what you are about to tell them.

The second issue to consider is this; determine if what you are going to say is necessary at all to be said. Some things can go without being said and it will not hurt anyone. Now, of course, I am not speaking about the nonsensical idea that "it does not hurt anyone what they do not know."

There are definitely issues that hurt others whether they know it or not, but some things just do not need to be said at all.

When you talk to your spouse, it is important to be aware of what you are saying and how it might sound to the other person. Say things like "I get frustrated when..." or "I am disappointed when..." Describe your needs by saying something like "I need you to support me when...", or "It is important to me that you..." Don't say things like "you never...", or "you always...", or "I hate it when you..." Try to phrase your complaints using the word 'I' rather than 'you'. It is an interesting psychological cue and one you need to understand.

When you say the word 'you', your spouse immediately expects that an attack is lurking in the statement. When you use the word 'I' and talk instead about how things make you feel you are coming at the problem from your perspective. Instead of striking out, you are reaching out to let your spouse know how you feel.

The other aspect of communicating is listening. It is just as important to be a good listener as it is to verbalize your feelings and you need to make an effort to really hear what your spouse is saying.

It will be difficult, at times, to listen without reacting, especially if you have been married a long time and are well skilled at the 'defend and attack' scenario of discussion.

Don't respond to criticism by saying "It isn't my fault. It is your fault" or "Well, you are not so easy to live with, either" ...

Don't make excuses like "I can't read your mind. You should have told me", or "I didn't take that long getting dressed.

You are on sacred ground when someone is sharing their heart with you. It is wise to take it seriously and treat it accordingly. Perhaps the best way to ensure you are treating the knowledge of someone's inner thoughts with respect, and honor is to look at yourself as a translator.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for Family Webzone where you can find more articles on family related matters.
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