Effective Communication Secrets You Wish You Knew Before You Said ‘I Do’
“I Talk! Talk!! Talk!!!
But never seem to get through to my spouse.” Most people think that communication is mostly about telling their spouse what they are doing wrong that rubs them the wrong way, and in essence, getting all that anger off their chest and feeling better that they have communicated their feelings to their significant other.
Boy! Are you in for a serious shocker!
There are so many parts to a discussion that gives it the label “effective”. Just telling someone what is on your mind without striving to listen to what’s on THEIR mind, or understand where THEY might be coming from or even mirroring back to them what you HEARD them say to you, isn’t an effective way to communicate.
Would you like to learn a better way?
For communication to be effectively executed, there must be talking, listening, mirroring back (repeating) what you heard your spouse say, all done in understanding (i.e. seeing things from their point of view). So we’ve all experienced the effects of communication gone awry (Yes! Even I have) and it just is never pretty. Yelling, screaming, taunting, silence afterwards and all manner of relationship killing behavior steps right in.
Things can surely be better than they are now.
How? I hear you ask me. “My wife never understands me when I talk, I feel like we are strangers.” “My husband doesn’t care at all if I am alive or dead”. I hear it ALL! Most times, people just haven’t figured out a better way to talk to each other or talk about issues in a bid to resolve them, the right way. Even something seemingly inconsequential as “talking” can throw a major spanner in the works.
So here’s how you get it done:
Talking is the how you share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse. Sharing is what brings you both closer together and not sharing is what keeps you and your spouse apart. Even though you have complete control of your mandibular region, sometimes, once it moves, it aids your tongue in uttering things that are plain foul to your spouse. You should never speak harsh or hateful words to your spouse. Remember this is the same “love of your life” “sugar” “honey” “bae” etc.? The one you pledged to love till the end, but somehow have decided to treat as a verbal punching bag? Watch your words. Season them with salt. Speak with respect to your spouse. Do not curse them. Do not blame them. Do not attack their character. Do not exaggerate. Speak the truth always, but in love. Watch your tongue because it’s like a raging fire. Remember, once you utter those words, you can’t take them back.
You have to listen twice as much as you hear. When you listen, don’t do it with the intent to gain as much ammunition as possible in order to “fire back” your spouse. Listen with understanding. See the heart of where they are coming from. Ask questions if you aren’t clear in order to understand their standpoint better (not snide remarks or questions that come across as condescending).
As Stephen Covey aptly said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Isn’t that the truth? When you listen to your spouse, you put your agenda away, you hear what they are saying and show interest (body language) in what they are attempting to tell you. Listen always from your spouse’s point of view and not from a defensive point of view. Again, park your agenda – and your paper, phone, hot television shows, children and all distractions. Listening to them shows you care and really want to understand what they have to share with you. This singular act will endear you to your spouse in ways you will never believe.
And then…Mirror Back (Repeat)
How many times have you said something to your spouse or any one in general and they TOTALLY missed your point? Yes! That happens more times than we can count on one hand, two feet, ten toes etc. right? The only solution to this problem is to do what psychologists call “mirror back”. Quick exercise: Look at your face in the mirror, such precision right? Now imagine saying something back to your spouse that you think they have said to you and getting it as close to what this mirror has done with your face. That’s exactly the benefit of this method. In essence, you repeat back in YOUR words and understanding what you believe your spouse just shared with you in a conversation, in order to make sure you heard correctly what they said. Mirroring back what you heard to your spouse always helps you both build a healthy style of communication. Ignoring this step ALWAYS opens up doors for misunderstandings that generally get blown out of proportion.
It’s really that simple!
If you want to experience a marriage that is steeped in healthy communication, it is possible. Don’t give up!
So this week has just been dedicated to telling you a few secrets to communicating effectively with your spouse. Next week, I’ll be giving practical examples of how these techniques can be applied. Like everything you want to work, you can’t do them once and ‘hands-off’, they have to become a part of you and that happens only by constantly practicing them.
I’d love to hear from you, ask your questions, share your views, comment, like and share this article with a loved one who might need it. You can also read my post “The One Key Ingredient Discovered In Awesome Marriages” to give you further insight on how healthy communication makes a marriage thrive.
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.
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