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How To Improve Communication In Your Marriage

You love them so much. Your spouse, at first you hang on every single word they say. So, then why all of the sudden do we have problems communicating as time goes on? Why sometimes the longer we're together, the worse our communication is? So, in this article, I'm going to teach you how to improve communication in your marriage. 

We're going to talk about 5 different ideas that I have for you for how to improve your communication as a couple. And then after that, I'm going to get a little vulnerable and I'm going to share a story about how I was messing up my relationship with my husband. And how we fixed that. 

The first idea comes from my husband Spencer. And this is a big statement for him to make. He said, "Well, to improve your communication as a couple, you have to talk more." I know. That seems so hard, right? Some people aren't talkers. And other people are talkers. 

There are all of those love languages, the 5, right? And only one of the 5 is those verbal affirmations and that talking that you do with somebody. And if one person's a talker and the other person isn't, there's a sacrifice that has to be made so that that love and that understanding can exist in the relationship. My husband says he's not a talker but if you get him in the right setting at the right time, he'll never stop. But by and large, I'm probably the one that's more of the talker. 

Especially when it comes to talking about goals that we want to set or things like that. Where he sort of feels like that conversation isn't his favorite type of conversation. But what he was telling me when we were discussing our couple relationship and how we improve it was that he decided that it was important for him to talk more so that we could bond more because that was important for me. So, maybe this idea really is... I mean talk more is important. But maybe the idea really is to do what the other person needs you to do. 

Don't feel like they always have to bend to you. But bent toward them instead. Idea number two is don't always say everything. We had to follow the talk more with "Now, wait. Don't always talk." Because that can cause its own problem. My husband and I see the world through different lenses. Even though we're so similar in so many ways. So, he's a detail-oriented guy. And I'm a big-picture girl. Which means I look at everything in front of me with this eye of possibility. And I see how all the pieces connect to each other. And he just says I just want to look at this one thing. 

I can't care about everything else right now. And so, let's not talk about everything else right now. So, you see if he hyper focuses on details, I'm going to think you're just stressing yourself out. There's a way bigger picture out here than that. And if I start talking about the big picture too much, then he's going to think "Why are you being so overwhelming all the time? Why do you have to bring up all this stuff when it's not going to happen yet?" Big picture and detail. 2 different kinds of people. 

No matter how you or your spouse see the world because we all have our own lens, we have to acknowledge that those differences exist. And then don't say everything that comes to our mind. That's important. So, if he starts going on about some detail that maybe I don't really care about but he does. I'm just going to be charitable and I'm going to listen and let him have his talk time. And then I'm not going to share that I don't care, that it bugs me, that I have something else to do. I'm just not going to talk during that time. 

Maybe some people think that's not being fully honest with your spouse. But it actually is being fully charitable. It's being caring. And caring is important. You don't have to share every thought and feeling that you have in your head or body to be completely honest. What is the real truth? The real truth is you love that person more than anything else. So, why wouldn't you sacrifice a little bit of your time for them and a little bit of your attention? No. That's holding on to the real truth. The real truth is it matters enough to sacrifice for that person. Idea number 3 is praise. In our family, we have a rule with our parenting which you can see in some of my other parenting articles. 

We have a rule that we praise our children 6 to 10 times every one time that corrects them. Well, why would that just apply to children? Do we ever correct each other as husband and wife? Oh, yes. And we're going to talk in a minute about how to do that correction as well. But if we're going to be correcting our spouse, shouldn't we also be praising them just like we would do for the children or a co-worker or anybody else? Of course. So, we praise each other every chance that we can get. In fact, what I've noticed with my husband and I don't know if it's all husband's or just his personality, but if he gets praised, he is so much more into me and into our relationship. 

The love seems to just explode. And it feels like I've noticed something valuable about him. He's funny because he knows he needs praise. And we've had many conversations about how he needs praise. And so, sometimes he'll come to me and say, "Look, honey. I did all of this laundry. And I did it while you were out." And then he'll look at me and say, "I need praise." Which kind of ruins it? So, then we tease each other and I say, "Oh, honey. You did such a great job at this laundry. Thanks for doing it. While I was out, I didn't even have to help. What a blessing. That saves so much time today." And he'll say, "I don't believe it." And so, then of course I give him a little kiss and say, "You're amazing." Anyway, but sometimes we even tell each other, "I need praise." 

Which is totally okay. Why can't we talk about any of our needs in a relationship? Why would our spouse have to guess everything that we're processing and thinking? If you do that, your relationships gonna have a lot of distance in them instead of closeness. You should be able to talk about anything and that starts with appreciating everything. Which means praise more. Idea number 4 for having good communication in your marriage is to actually schedule a set communication time. In our family, we have couples meetings every single Sunday afternoon. 

We go to church, we come home. We eat lunch and then we have a couple's meeting. And we have certain rules about these couples' meetings such as they're not going to happen on the bed because otherwise, we might fall asleep. After all, we've got a food coma after lunch after church. So, we have a certain place we have the meetings. We have a certain time frame for the meetings. And then there's a certain format that we go through and that we discuss in those meetings. 

That's what's in this couples meeting journal. We look at what we've discussed previously. See how we're doing on our goals and then we set new goals for ourselves. This is also a great time to discuss the children and their needs and their lives. We discuss with each other what type of parenting modifications we might need to make for a particular child. Or what lessons a child needs to learn or what needs a child might have. If there's one thing that can unify a couple, it's being on the same page with their parenting. If there's one thing that can divide a couple, it's not being on the same page with their parenting. 

So, that's a key part of our family communication. Now, if you have a spouse that does not want to get on the same page with you it's your parenting, that doesn't mean all is lost. There are many other things that we are discussing in this article that you can do to be more charitable in your relationship and hopefully, open that door. Remember, even if they won't get on the same page with you in your parenting, you can still choose to make the decision you know is best for your relationship with the child. And the child will have to adapt those are the differences. It's not ideal, it is possible. 

But if you can do it, establish those couples meetings together regularly, discuss the children and work together as you strengthen each other in your communications with the children about their bad behaviors. Now, here comes probably the most tedious of the 5 ideas. Which is know how to correct each other. Yes, husband and wife can correct each other. Only the most healthy relationships are that possible but it absolutely is possible. 

So, maybe you're going to work up to this phase. But hopefully, you decide as a couple "Who are we? Where are we going? How are we going to handle this problem and this problem and solve this issue with the children?" And then as part of our couple discussion in our couples meeting, we discuss, "I've noticed something that you do that is becoming a problem for the family or is a problem for me, can we talk about that?" And hopefully, everyone is charitable and loving and kind enough, in that couple meeting to have that discussion. 

And if so, then we have a discussion about it, why it might happen and we come up with a plan for how we can help correct each other and stop each other at the moment where they're going to go in the direction that they might not want to go with one of the family relationships. So, my husband and I created this plan that if someone was starting to lose control... I'm not going to say who *wink, wink*, honey. If you happen to be watching this. But if someone wasn't going to lose control and maybe raise their voice a little or not be as a patient then the other person in the room (me) would make eye contact with him and would go like this. Really quickly. Like, "Cut. I got this." And I would step in to help to finish that interaction with the child. Or he would say, "I'm going to get calm for a minute, and then I'm going to come back." 

When I was a young mother and I was doing foster care for troubled teens, I oftentimes would have 2 control teenagers and 2 control toddlers all at the same time. And I would have them all to myself all day long. I started doing foster care so that I could help support my family while my husband went back to school to pursue a different degree. 

My own children were toddlers at the time that we were taking in these foster children. It was a big emotional load on me. And he was gone a lot. I started getting really rundown. And sometimes he would tell me that he was going to come home and he would come home late or he would forget to pick something up that I told him that I wanted him to pick up. And I found myself looking forward to him coming home but also getting angry at the same time. 

I didn't realize that I was sabotaging our relationship at the time but I totally was. In fact, one day it finally hit me. I was at the sink so we'd had dinner. And my love language is quality time. So, when he doesn't make it for things that are quality time things for the family, it kind of hurts a little. I'm so over that. But then I was not over that. Anyway, I was doing the dishes after the meal. And I heard the garage door go up. And I went, "Oh, he's here." And I immediately looked at the clock and thought, "Oh, he's so much later. 

He missed dinner. He didn't call me because of this one he said he would." And I started thinking in my mind everything I had been frustrated with him for that day. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was taking out my emotional drain on him. I know I was. Anyway. So, he walked in. And the second he walked in, I started saying, "Well, why didn't you do this? Well, it's a good thing you're finally home because..." Da, da, da, da, da, da, da. And I just started laying into him all of these things. Husbands, please be patient with your wives. Because they don't actually want to do that to you. 

But something just builds up and you're the first friend they see. And all of a sudden they just let loose on you. And that is what happened to me that day. And I had done it many other days. But this day I caught myself and decided that was it. I am stopping myself from doing this. Here I was teaching my foster children how to have self-government, how to have self-mastery over themselves. 

Yet, I was emotional with my husband sabotaging myself every day. So, as I laid into him when he came home that day, he started retorting back to me. And our first words pretty much for the day that evening were rude, were mean, were unkind, and not considerate. And then he went his way and I kept doing my dishes. And that whole I ended up being more silenced than anything. 

It was a terrible feeling. So, I finally decided to self-govern myself. I decided I can give myself a no answer about those feelings. I can tell myself, "No, I'm not doing that to myself or to him anymore." Because I realized right then, the honest truth was I was ruining every night, not him. So, that's what I did for myself. I said, "Okay, that's it." And I went to him and I said, "Honey, I'm sorry. I am so sorry. As soon as that garage comes up, I start thinking about why I'm frustrated with you. 

I'm being calm with everybody else all day long yet for some reason I'm taking every emotion that I didn't spend that day and I'm spending it on you. And I'm making a problem in our relationship. I am so sorry. I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm going to stop myself. And could you please help me stop it too? If you see me doing that, will you please bring that to my attention and say, let's not do this, let's talk about the good things today, let's have a hug, and change our direction? Would you please? 

Because that would be a really great reminder." And he said, "Yeah." And I think he was a little amazed that I came to him and told him I was being proud and sabotaging our night. Because that's what I was doing. But in the end, it healed so much in our relationship. And it gave us permission at that time to start helping each other more with the way we were communicating. And correcting each other more on other things and not feel like it was a personal attack if we weren't perfect in front of the other person. I think husbands and wives a lot of times get competitive with each other. 

One thinks they have to be better than the other one. And it happens on both sides. It's just not necessary. Not when you could work together. Not when you could help each other along. It requires humility which is hard to adopt and it requires trust and love in the other person. But if you put your focus on valuing them and their ability to help you and their good heart and they do likewise, the unity that results is beautiful. 

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