Do you sometimes have trouble getting your spouse to talk to you? Or really listen to what you have to say?
Here are some helpful tips for establishing healthy two-way communication in your marriage or serious relationship. Even if things haven't reached breakdown level yet, we can all improve in this all-important area!
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1. Be the Spouse You Desire
The first step to getting your spouse to treat you the way you desire is to model for them what that looks like. You can’t directly control their actions, but you can control your own. If you want them to be interested in what you have to say, be engaging and show how much you care about them.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of only reciprocating, but when you take that approach you both lose. Try your best to “suck it up” and be the spouse that you want to be married to. It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason.
2. Speak Their Language
In general, wives crave empathy and husbands crave respect. Do your best to communicate in a way that fulfills your spouse on their terms. I highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman and apply the principles that you learn to connect in a way that your wife or husband will respond to the best. Speak their love language!
3. Don’t Shut Down
When you are not getting what you want, it is so easy to simply recoil and exact some “revenge” on your spouse by withdrawing. This is not productive, and it will only degrade your communication further. I highly recommend that you check out a post on Engaged Marriage called “What’s the Secret to a Happy Marriage?“, and be conscious to avoid the unhealthy communication patterns that are highlighted.
Remember, it starts with you.
4. Establish Expectations
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Once you’ve gotten your own mind set in the right place, it’s vital that you let your spouse know in clear terms what you need from them. Find some quiet time, turn off the television and tell your spouse that you really need to talk. Sit down face-to-face, take their hands in yours, look them in the eye and really impress upon them how very important this is to you.
Don’t assume that your husband (or wife) really understands how deeply concerned you are about their lack of communication. Tell them.
5. Don’t Expect a Mind Reader