According to the American Counseling Association, the most common thread throughout all broken marriages is breakdown in communication. As Americans, our communication seems to fail with the most important person in our life, despite the fact that we, as a country, love to communicate. Our country’s divorce rate is holding at 50% as a result. Add in being on your second or third marriage, and this rate increases.
The beginning of a lack of communication between husband and wife is usually the inability to talk about the little things, which turn into bigger things when frustration and anger is built up. Bigger issues are more difficult to resolve than smaller ones.
The key to a healthy strong relationship is using communication to work out your issues and resolve problems. The following are keys to building strong communication skills with your spouse:
1. Truly listen to each other, while staying quiet and focused on what they are saying.
2. Listen to the actual words and underlying feelings and emotions.
3. Try to understand the other side of the argument, this doesn’t mean you have to agree.
4. Let the other person know you are listening by rephrasing what they have told you and to ensure clear understanding.
5. Let the other person know that you are hearing their words as well as the underlying feelings. This validates the other persons emotions.
6. Be aware of nonverbal messages you may send, such as tone of voice and facial expressions.
7. Tell the other person how you are feeling and what they are doing wrong, by using I statements.
8. Let the person know ahead of time of your intention to discuss issues. This will allow them to gather their thoughts as well as appear less like an attack.
9. Set aside time to talk about important issues without interruptions from kids and life.
10. Stay on topic, try to keep your discussion confined to the topic at hand.
Utilizing these tips will help you and your spouse to communicate more effectively, and just may save your marriage. Avoid rehashing the past, keep your discussions in the present moment. This will allow you to focus on solutions that you can work toward together.
The Light Your Fire program is an useful solution to marital counseling. Find out how thousands have solved their marriage problems. As seen on Oprah and The View.