Good communication skills are essential in any relationship – even more so in a marriage relationship!! So many misunderstandings and conflicts start from a lack of or a poor execution of good communication.
Thing is, everybody thinks and communicates a little differently. To really learn to communicate well with a person, you need to really get to know that person and listen to the way they communicate and think. That does make things a little bit trickier, doesn’t it?
And to make it even more complicated, we may not be as great at communicating as we think we are, or as what we could be. Communication isn’t just expressing yourself, but being understood as well. Communication is the entire process of expressing a thought and having it received and understood with the intended meaning. It might take a little practice.
The good news is that there are some things we can all do to practice good communication skills, regardless of our pre-existing circumstances.
10 Tips for Effective Communication
1.) LISTEN. To the whole point of view, the whole argument, the whole explanation.
2.) DON’T INTERRUPT. No matter how tempting.
3.) UNDERSTAND. Try to see the other person’s point of view, even if you disagree with it.
4.) CALM VOICE. If you start to get frustrated, you have the ability to increase tension by raising your voice, or moderate tension by watching your tone. You have the power, use it wisely.
5.) BE STRAIGHT-FORWARD. No hidden smoke signals, no mixed messages. Don’t assume your spouse already knows what you want, how you feel or what you mean. Without being too long-winded or blunt (each their own separate issues,) keep it honest and simple.
6.) ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t assume you know what the other person thinks, feels or means if they didn’t say so. Ask for clarification before proceeding.
7.) REMEMBER. Some people find it easier to put their thoughts into words than others do. For some people it is very difficult. Be patient.
8.) STAY PRESENT. Try to focus on the issue at hand rather than bringing up past examples. Ask, “What we can we do right here, right now, to make this happen?” (That’s not to say that you shouldn’t *ever* look at the past. Considering past circumstances to learn from them and move forward is great.)
9.) AGREE TO DISAGREE. If you can’t communicate at the moment without getting frustrated or angry, agree to take a break and come back together to try again later.
10.) FORGIVE. And forgive. And forgive. When poor communication causes problems, forgive and work toward reconciliation. Holding a grudge or hanging on to the hurt divides and tears down the marriage relationship. Each partner is important; unity in the marriage relationship is most important.
Would you agree? What would you add?
Background Image Credit: Message for You by George Hodan (Public Domain)