In a DESTINY article, relationship and consciousness coach Savannah Steinberg highlighted the importance of honest communication. “As soon as there’s anything that causes either partner to feel incomplete, talk about it and resolve it immediately, so it doesn’t become like a pressure-cooker – where you keep things to yourself and then one day explode. The more open you are with your partner, the more they have the space to be open with you,” she says.
Steinberg also suggests discussing potential relationship roadblocks before they appear. “The best way for relationships to work is to reach agreements on how you’ll both deal with stress before it happens.”
Mind your body language
To improve communication in your marriage, you need to be cognisant of the subtle messages you transmit. Imagine how disheartening it would be if, while talking to your spouse, they yawned, rolled their eyes or became engrossed with their cellphone. When your partner is trying to communicate with you, be present, look them in the eye and be genuinely interested in what they’re saying.
READ MORE: Six habits that can lead to divorce
You are always responsible for how you respond
No matter how a conflict began, you always have the power to decide if a fight arises and how it plays out. That power lies in the way you respond, which can be difficult, particularly if you’re emotional, angry or indignant because you are not at fault. Family Life reports that the course of a conflict is not determined by the person who initiates it, but by the person who responds. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” – Proverbs, 15:1.
It’s also important to listen to understand and not reply with the first thing that comes to mind. Listen to your partner’s point of view and try to comprehend what exactly they’re trying to get across, rather than concentrating on formulating a response. Don’t seek to win the argument – it is best to work on understanding each other better.
READ MORE: How to deal with a dying marriage
The principle of timing
When trying to effectively communicate with your spouse, the time and mood is important. Be strategic with the timing of your discussions by trying to communicate when the both of you are in a good space and emotions aren’t running high. There are, however, times when you need to discuss something immediately. In these instances, remain calm and remember that the aim is to find common ground.
Think before you speak
Before giving your spouse a piece of your mind, think carefully about what you’re about to say and the way in which you’re going to say it. Rows are often a result of misinterpretation. Think about how your words will affect the union in the long run. This doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t express yourself. It simply means you should be wary of the words you use, as they could cause lasting damage.
If you’re not sure if you understand what your spouse is trying to say, respond with: “What do you mean by that?”, “So, what I hear you saying is …” or “Are you saying…” This will clarify things and prevent misunderstandings.
Reporting: Family Life and Diamond Woman