Whether you have been married for only a brief period of time, many years, or…
Okay, so your marriage is in trouble and you want to fix it. It is not going to be easy and it is going to take some time. Chances are the problems built up over time and it is not going to be a one or two day fix to correct the problems. And most problems in a failing marriage can be traced back to poor communication skills. Once you master how to communicate effectively then you can start implementing those practices into your marriage and hopefully put things back on the right track.
Marriage is a two way street. That street is communication. If one side of the street is blocked off, or even if both are blocked, then no communication is happening. You can talk all you wish but if you are not doing so in a productive manner then you are wasting your breath and the time of your partner. That is why it is important to follow some helpful rules in learning how to communicate effectively. The first rule is easy. It is to use active listening.
You may be thinking that active listening is not going to help you learn to speak but in order to first speak you need to be able to understand what your partner is saying and what he or she is not saying. Active listening skills mean not interrupting when your partner is saying something. And it means not immediately replying if you want to argue. Give the information time to be processed by your brain. This is the point where if you have been offended by what is said, or you simply are a bit confused, to ask for clarification. Maybe your partner did not mean for a statement to come out the way that it did. You asking a thoughtful question about it show that you are actively listening to what he or she has to say.
Next up is thinking after you have thought about what you have to say. It is incredibly easy when arguing to lash out and say something destructive. Do not fall into this trap. If you are about to say something mean or spiteful then stop your mouth before it has time to open. Think about what you want to say and give it a lot of thought. It may be tempting to criticize your partner for his or her actions but it does nothing constructively. Also try to use “I” statements when talking. Talk about how your partner’s actions affect you. “You” statements put people on the defensive automatically.
By using active listening skills and thinking before you speak then you can learn how to communicate effectively. It does take time and it does take practice. If you have laundry lists of complaints then just shelve them for a bit and pick one that is truly important to you. Keep calm and speak in a gentle tone and avoid accusations. If you can do this then your marriage does stand a good chance of recovering.