Today’s Guest Post is from Waverly Hanson, the best-selling author of How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage.
Relationships, especially a long-term marriage, will go through many phases. There will be moments when you and your partner are in perfect sync and it feels like nothing can get you down. Then, there will be scenarios where you’ll feel like you don’t know each other at all. This concept would be much easier to swallow if it didn’t enrich divorce lawyers at an alarming rate.
The simple truth is, you and your partner have to learn the value of communication within a relationship if you are going to weather the bad and enjoy the good. So, consider these five tips to create effective communication in a marriage and maintain a solid, mutually beneficial relationship.
1 – Start Listening
The first step in creating effective communication is to start listening. This means not interrupting your partner at any point and actually hearing what they have to say. This is where empathy plays such an important part, because you need to see what your partner is seeing. You also need to understand what your partner is feeling.
Giving your partner a safe opportunity to share their thoughts shows more than just love and respect. It shows you are willing to work towards a solution if you’re having an argument and not escalate the situation.
2 – Don’t Make Assumptions
After being married a few years, it’s easy to fall into a dangerous habit of making assumptions. Just because you know your partner’s routine in the morning doesn’t mean you know what they are thinking. Continue to make conversation on topics you probably know the answer to.
The same goes for passive individuals who prefer to keep things to themselves. Expecting your partner to be a psychic is unreasonable and it will only make you more frustrated. Even you think a topic might be hurtful to bring up, take the time to talk about it, rather than keeping everything bottled up inside.
3 – Check Your Tone at the Door
It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is or the mood you are in, when speaking to your partner, always use a loving tone. If this person is your better half then show it on a daily basis by pairing your words with love. Apart from making each other feel special, it will lay the groundwork for effective communication.
Unfortunately arguments don’t typically involve a loving tone of voice, but you are still in control to a degree. A shouting match isn’t going to fix anything, but a heated discussion just might.
4 – Bury the Past
There’s no better way to say it, leave the past right where it is. If you or your partner has a tendency to reach for past problems when feeling threatened, get rid of that tendency. By constantly reminding someone of what they did, you risk closing communication channels completely. If you can’t manage this on your own, talk to a licensed therapist or counselor to get some help.
5 – Be Honest
The one person who is going to know when you lie, whether they inform you of it or not, is your partner. It’s understandable if you lie when your partner asks if they gained weight, but it crosses the line when conversations are built on constant lying. When you have too much to hide from your spouse, you risk shutting down communication simply because you’re too scared of letting something slip.
Build your relationship on trust by not keeping secrets unnecessarily. Having a private email address or cell phone is a dangerous game, and it might just destroy your relationship if your spouse finds out about it. If you’re in a place where these things are a part of your life, it’s time to rethink your priorities, get rid of the secrets and open up to your spouse with honesty.
Some Final Thoughts
Love won’t always be the saving factor in a relationship. When things get too tough and couples have fallen into silent, passive habits, the only thing that can get the relationship back on track is communication. Build that bridge today and savor your marriage for the rest of your life.
About the Author
Waverly Hanson is the best-selling author of How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats. She has been assisting individuals and couples with relationship and life transformations for more than 25 years as a therapist, counselor, coach and consultant. Visit her website to learn more.