Effective communication plays a huge role in any relationship. Whether you’ve been feeling distant from your partner lately, have had the same argument over and over without moving forward, or are experiencing any other significant issue, it’s time to reassess your communication strategy. Here are a few tips that relationship counselors routinely emphasize to their clients to help them enjoy honest, respectful communication with their spouses.
4 Ways to Enhance Communication With Your Partner or Spouse
1. Use “I” Statements
Focus on “I” instead of “You” statements. For example, saying, “I am disappointed you won’t make the movie tonight,” rather than, “You never want to go to the movies with me!” will set the tone for a more fruitful discussion. “You” statements can sound accusatory and often make the other person defensive. “I” statements, in comparison, help your partner understand your feelings.
2. Choose the Right Time
Pick an opportune time to discuss something that upsets you, such as when you’re both feeling relaxed. Wrong times are those when you or your partner are visibly irritated, such as when you’ve both had a frustrating day at work. Choosing to discuss an issue when neither of you is calm will exacerbate the situation instead of leading to a resolution.
3. Breathe Through Angry Feelings
Take a step back when you feel anger bubbling, such as by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth or thinking of happy or peaceful images that lower your blood pressure. People often give responses that they later regret when they are angry. Avoid these situations by taking a few minutes before responding.
Also, if your partner makes you angry but is unaware of it, use the “48-hour rule” that counselors suggest. In other words, wait 48 hours to see if you’re still mad. If you are, have a conversation with your spouse then using “I” statements.
4. Avoid Non-Verbal Communication
Speak to each other directly instead of over text and email whenever you can. While this doesn’t mean you have to end non-verbal communication with your spouse, it does mean you should wait to talk to each other instead of sending nasty texts or messages that can be interpreted the wrong way.
If you still have communication problems, consider therapy with a licensed relationship counselor. Many couples go to therapy simply to keep the communication lines open and therefore sidestep resentful feelings.
LiveBeyond Counseling & Coaching provides residents throughout Fort Worth, Keller, and Southlake, TX, with family and couples counseling, behavior therapy, and anger management services that help resolve differences for happier, healthier communities. The licensed counselors at this trusted center offer evening and weekend as well as weekday hours for client convenience. Call (817) 754-8886 today to make an appointment or visit the counselors online for more information.