When couples seek relationship counseling advice, what do you think they work on the most in their marriage?
If you answered “communication,” you would be correct.
Read on… I have some tips for you so you can get started today.
Deepening Your Emotional Connection
There are many different forms of communication in a marriage. Some of them are verbal while others are nonverbal.
Some examples of verbal communication include joking with one another, talking about unimportant things in your life, sending one another emails or notes, leaving phone messages, or talking about your daily errands and what time each of you will be home from work.
On the other hand, some examples of nonverbal communication include touch, demonstrating priority for your spouse, your behavior during sex, meaningful looks, and your physical appearance.
Each of these forms of communication is important, but today, I want to focus on in this article is a form of communication that is related to each of these, but distinct in several ways. I want to talk about connecting with your spouse in an intimate way by talking and developing a deeper understanding of each other.
You may think your communication is good, or maybe only requiring a little “brushing up” in the skill department. Or, maybe your marriage is in full-fledged crisis mode. No matter where you are on the communication spectrum, consider these two questions:
1) How much time do the two of you spend engaged in intimate conversations that help you connect on a deeper emotional level?
2) How much time do you spend trying to understand new things about your spouse and helping him understand new things about you?
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you might be having a hard time connecting with your spouse in this intimate way.
The problem is that when you aren’t engaged in intimate conversations with your spouse on a somewhat regular basis, you risk losing your emotional closeness. This loss can occur so subtly that you will barely notice the loss until it threatens the relationship you once had.
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In the interests of providing useful relationship counseling-style advice, I offer to you the following four tips as a helpful start. There’s so much more involved in the art of communication, so we will revisit the topic again soon.
Tip #1: Offer your very best self
To have intimate conversations with your spouse and allow him or her to truly open up and share with you, you have to be your best, most adult self. Now, what do I mean by that?
First, if you are in the midst of a marital crisis, manage your painful feelings so you can have a conversation. For some of you this may be difficult, and for others it may be currently impossible. The goal is to maintain your feelings within limits in the interests of deepening communication.
Tip #2: Reign in your defensiveness
When your spouse tells you how he or she feels about something you’ve done, remind yourself that the criticism doesn’t define you as a person and that there is important information being communicated. You might not like the information, but it is important for you to understand what is being communicated.
Try and understand where your spouse is coming from, even if it doesn’t match you own perception of the situation.
Tip #3: Leave aside accusations
Don’t accuse your spouse of anything. Accusations tend to only cause people to close up and become defensive. If you want to keep the flow of the conversation moving, drop the accusations.
Instead, speak from your personal experience about your own feelings. Keep the focus on what’s going on for you, instead of blaming your spouse.
Tip #4: Package what you impart
Deliver information in small packages. Part of being an adult is keeping in mind that we all have limitations and we can only process so much information at one time (especially when that information is emotionally loaded).
If you bombard your spouse with too much information at once, he or she will probably only remember the latter part of what you said.
Instead, keep the conversation focused on one topic and manage small bits of information at a time so your spouse can easily track your thinking and the point you want to make.
My best to you as you repair communication problems in your marriage.
How is communication between you and your spouse today?
Are you and your spouse having the deep level of communication as described in today’s blog? Have you ever experienced that?
What has impeded communication between you? An affair? Overworked and stretched to the limit? Simple neglect?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,