I love this quote by George Bernard Shaw:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Have you found this true in your marriage? I sure have! Sometimes I think I’ve told my husband something, but actually haven’t. Or vice versa. It often creates some commotion and confusion, right?
When it comes to marriage, we should always be communicating with our spouse. Yet there’s so much happening every day that when the evening comes, we’re too tired to talk. Or we’re distracted by our phones or the TV.
It’s super important, though, that we save words and energy for our spouse. We need to make time to talk about the housekeeping of life—like bills, household repairs and the calendar—but we also need to make time to talk about our relationship and each other’s overall well-being.
Here are five strategies to keep the lines of communication open in your marriage:
- Be clear: We ladies often have the false assumption that our husbands can read our minds. They cannot! Only God is capable of this supernatural ability! So instead of trying to give hints or put out signals, let’s just be clear with what we need or want to say. Like we say to our children, “Use your words!” Don’t be vague, be specific.
- Don’t assume: When we make assumptions, they probably turn out wrong about half the time, if not more! Instead of assuming, try saying, “Let’s clarify the plan so we’re clear,” or “I know we talked about ___, but I want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
- Be an intentional listener: Put away the phone, turn off the TV and eliminate distractions as much as possible. Communication shuts down quickly when the person speaking realizes they’re not being heard. Listen intentionally to your spouse and repeat back what he or she has said. You can say, “What I heard you say is __________.” This will open the door for your spouse to clarify or expand upon what they’ve said.
- Seek to understand, then be understood: This is one of the seven habits Stephen Covey writes about in his book The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People. This strategy is especially helpful when you don’t agree with your spouse. When there’s a disagreement, sometimes one or both parties want to get their point across at all costs. Maybe there’s yelling, interrupting or both people talking at the same time. It’s not an environment conducive to healthy communication, right? When we seek to understand each other then be understood, we start a beneficial cycle: Listening to the other person’s point of view creates connection, which leads to an open pathway for more communication, which then creates more connection. It’s a win-win for both parties!
- Check in with each other every day: Schedule semi-regular times when you check in with each other throughout the day. Call or text on your lunch hour or when you’re about to leave work to head home. Don’t be legalistic about it, but try to make it part of your daily routine. Even if you don’t have much to report, it’s good to hear each other’s voices and connect throughout the day.
I hope you use these strategies and in return experience more communication and connection in your marriage!