Communication is so important in a marriage. Being able to have a healthy conversation is one of the most helpful things you can do to improve your relationship.
Here are 3 quick tips to keep your communication running smoothly.
1. Don’t ask questions that start with “Why….”
Questions that start with the word “why” will often make people feel attacked. When people feel attacked, they start to defend themselves. And now you are not listening to each other and instead, stuck in an attack-defend-attack-defend communication pattern.
Instead, use questions that start with these phrases:
“Tell me about….” “What happened with…..” What do you think about….” “What was going on with….”
All these phrases are more neutral, less aggressive and have a higher chance of you getting an honest answer and not a defensive one.
2. Try not to raise your voice.
Talking louder does not make your partner hear you better. It usually ends up frustrating them, firing them up, or hurting them. Healthy communication skills include keeping the tone and volume neutral. Shouting is not healthy. It just adds fuel to the fire.
Instead, try these tips:
Take a long, deep breath before responding. Focus on your breathing for a few seconds.
Tell your partner you need to take a 5 minute break before continuing to talk.
Talk softer. Instead of yelling, try going the opposite direction and speaking quieter.
3. Use sentences that start with “I” instead of “You”.
Again, we are looking to keep the conversation neutral and not aggressive. Many people feel attacked when they are told what they are doing wrong. Figure out a way to reframe the sentence so that your partner can listen instead of defend. Starting sentences with “You always…..” and “You never…” and “You are so….” is not the healthiest way to communicate.
Instead, start your sentences with “I”. Say something like, “I feel…” or “I don’t like …” or “I prefer when…”
Using I-statements is not always easy. But it can absolutely help the communication in your relationship. And of course, you will get better with more practice.
Try these communication skills to help your relationship! If you would like one-on-one help with your communication, please contact me for a marriage counseling appointment. I am located in Friendswood, TX, but I am easily accessible to Pearland, Webster, and Clear Lake communities. Hope this helps!