When it comes to marital communication, you will form habits and create patterns. It can be challenging to modify these patterns once they are established. However, when routines are harmful, marital satisfaction will decline quickly. Unhealthy communication practices can lead to much discomfort, irritation, misinterpretation, and unresolved dispute. Whether a couple bickers, yells, jumps to conclusions, or does not listen to each other, it takes a toll on marriage over time. The great news is there are ways to modify these communication practices. Change won't occur overnight. It takes time to forge these patterns, and it takes time to create healthier habits, but you can do it.
Half-listening can be a significant problem in a marriage. Whether you're texting while talking or refuse to take your eyes away from the TV when your partner asks you a question, providing only part of your attention can be a significant problem. Agree to put down your phone while riding in the car or dining together. Pause the TV if your partner wants to talk. Don't shout from several rooms away, but go to your spouse to have a conversation.
Giving your partner your undivided attention can solve a lot of miscommunication problems. For instance, if you're guilty of stating, "You never said that," when your partner says otherwise, it may be because you only half listen. Also, ensure that you demonstrate that your mate is essential to you and that you're ready to devote your time to them.
It's easy to get in the habit of reacting to your partner in a specific way. For instance, if you're accustomed to becoming cranky when your partner asks you to take the trash out, you'll likely react with irritation the next time it occurs. So, before you respond to your partner in your routine, take a second to think. Take a deep breath and choose to try something new. For example, smile and offer kind words or hug your spouse. It can make the difference between spending the day annoyed with each other and appreciating one another's presence.
When addressing a problem, adhere to only the facts at first. This can guarantee that you both understand. For instance, say something like, "Our bills are more than we have in our account right now, and we need to decide what to do with our credit card bill." Sidestep is placing blame or hopping to conclusions; instead, make sure you know the facts.
Once you both are clear on the facts, try to consider the issue from your partner's point of view. For instance, a husband feels discouraged by his wife's steady reminders that he should join a gym. He believes it is nagging, and they often argue about it. However, he could attempt to see things from her point of view by reminding himself, "She's only concerned about my health. It must be frightening and frustrating for her to see me taking so many medicines for high blood pressure and cholesterol. She is only trying to help." Looking at something from your spouse's perspective can help you develop some compassion and see things in a different way. This can alter your feelings and help you approach the issue differently.
These are just some of the ways to improve communication in your marriage. If you need marriage counseling, Dr. Phillips has you covered. Contact us today to schedule your first visit.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.