2 Very Different Ways To Improve Communication In Marriage (And Be A Better Husband!)

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2 Very Different Ways To Improve Communication In Marriage (And Be A Better Husband!)

There is nothing more human that wanting to love and be loved. But why do you really want to be married or in a relationship?

This is a valid question few people ask themselves — especially when trouble with communication arises in your relationship.

So ask yourself, "Why do I want to be married or in a relationship? For the joy of having to put up with his mother at Christmas? In order to be nagged at for not emptying the dishwasher...again?!"

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There are plenty of reasons why the single life can be appealing, but very few of us actively seek out having a life alone without attachments or compromises.

Simply put, most of us want a partner to help us shoulder life's burdens. We don't want to face life alone.

Having a mate to make our lives easier is often worth all the problems that come with a relationship.

Ultimately, we want to feel supported.

Support can mean many things to many people — it is one of the most important aspects of healthy relationships. Many relationship problems come down to the fact that couples don't naturally have conversations about how support is defined and what it looks like for each partner.

Picture this: You just got home from work, it's been a long day. You spent your morning trying to clean up the mess that a colleague created, followed by a two-hour (very!) pointless meeting with your boss.

Some inconsiderate jerk ate your lunch, which you had clearly labeled in the fridge, and then your commute home took an extra hour because a storm washed out some power lines.

In short, you're exhausted and just want a quiet night in with your partner, who actively wants to support you.

There are two broad categories of conversation when talking about your day. But if you don't express which type of conversation you want in order to feel supported, things might not end well.

How do you want your partner to respond to you? If the situation was reversed, how would you want to support your partner and show that you care?

Improving communication is essential for healthy relationships.

It's important to learn how to improve communication skills for all the miscommunications and misunderstandings that occur when what "she said" was not what "he heard." Clear, effective communication is absolutely necessary for a happy marriage and overall healthy relationship.

Here are 2 very different but effective strategies to improve communication in your marriage for a happy, healthy relationship that stands the test of time.

1. Focus on problem solving.

One of the secrets to life is to control what you can and let go of what you can't. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, we're not really good at this when things go wrong.

One way partners can support each other is to try to help them to live up to this maxim. When we care, we want to help our partners deal with difficult situations.

We might offer suggestions on how to change things, or we can remind them to "let it go" when nothing can be done.

Generally, these suggestions are well-intentioned. It's our way of saying, "I can see how hard this is for you; I don't like seeing you like this. Let me help you so that you don't have to go through that again."

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2. Practice active listening.

Another way of offering support is by practicing active listening.

Active listening involves listening with all your senses and giving full attention to the person speaking. Convey interest to your partner when they are speaking through verbal and nonverbal communication, like eye contact, nodding your head, or saying "yes" or "mhmm" to encourage them to continue.

Hold off on the suggestions and just listen to your partner. Forget about what you think should be done and just allow your spouse to let it all out.

Saying, "That must have really sucked," can have a great impact because it signals to your partner that you understand how they're feeling. You connect with their experience of the situation and remind them that they are not alone in this world.

Rather than dealing with the situation, we can just explore the feelings, which is particularly useful when the problem doesn't have an easy solution. (Your boss might always be a bit of jerk and no problem-solving will change that!)

So, the secret to how to be a better husband or a better wife lies in communicating your support.

Happy couples in healthy relationships and marriages communicate effectively with each other. They show their support to their partner by focusing on problem solving and practicing active listening.

Gender differences in communication are common.

There is an easily identified gender difference between these two forms of support. It's not hard to guess which gender has a tendency to problem solve and which one focuses on feelings.

In today's modern world, though, there are plenty of women who are exceptional problem solvers and plenty of emotionally aware men with good active listening skills. This means that these differences crop up in all partners, including same-sex couples.

However, problems arise when Partner A wants someone to listen and Partner B tries to solve the problem, or vice versa.

Remember the Golden Rule.

Again, intentions are usually good in these situations. More often than not, we try to act towards our partner in the way we would like our partner to act towards us.

After all, isn’t that what the Golden Rule is all about? It’s important to treat others the way they want to be treated, even if it means acting against our own default setting — this is what real support is about.

So, the next time your partner could use some extra support, ask yourself how you can help without assuming they want what you would want.

If our intent is to make our partners' lives more bearable, they are the experts on how we can achieve that.

RELATED: 8 Communication Skills That All Happily Married Couples Know

Dan Kolubinski is a marriage and couples counselor who offers short-term retreats for couples from all walks of life. For more information on how he can help you improve your connection, visit his website.