Communication is a part of everyday life and we have all had plenty of practice with it, so why is it so difficult to effectively communicate with our husbands? Things can be going extremely well in a marriage, but if the communication is not effective, the whole relationship is thrown off balance. Most of the time as wives, we tend to blame things on our husbands, not realizing that we need to deal with our own shortcomings.
According to the book, Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late, by Gary Smalley, there are five things that can hinder our communication in marriage.
1. Overwhelming your husband with problems after work
Men have to deal with a lot of problems at work and the last thing they want to do is come home to more problems. Our natural instinct when confronted with adversity is to fight or flee, so when you bombard your husband with problems, he will usually choose one of the two. After the fighting overwhelms him, he may choose to flee from real communication with you.
2. Using too many words
Many times we will go on forever about how something is wrong or needs to be fixed, when we really only needed to say a couple of phrases to get the point across. Most women are talkers and like to extend discussions past what is required. However, when talking to our husbands about domestic and marital problems, keep it short and sweet. Also, focusing on the positive things between you and your husband will promote better moods and hopefully eliminate some of the problems. Make sure not to only talk about your marriage when there is a problem. Another action to practice is listening more than you speak. James 1:19 states, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
3. No rules for fighting
We’ve all been told at one time or another that we need to fight fair. So what exactly does that mean? According to Smalley, there are 14 “fighting rules” that we need to keep in our relationships:
- Clarify what the actual conflict is.
- Stick to the issue at hand.
- Maintain as much tender physical contact as possible, like holding hands.
- Avoid sarcasm.
- Avoid “you” statements.
- Don’t use “hysterical statements” that exaggerate or over-generalize.
- Resolve any hurt feelings before continuing the conflict discussion.
- Don’t use name-calling.
- Avoid power actions or statements like “I quit,” or “You’re killing me.”
- Don’t use the silent treatment.
- Keep your arguments as private as possible.
- Repeat back or paraphrase what you think the other person is saying.
- Resolve your conflicts with a win-win solution.
- Strive to reflect honor and respect for your mate.
Abiding by these rules will minimize the conflict and help both you and your husband to agree on a solution.
4. Projecting blame
Placing blame on your mate may seem like a way to make yourself feel better, but not when it produces a heated discussion. Make sure you take responsibility for your own actions and not place blame on others. Use kind words and respect when speaking to your husband so you have an opportunity to communicate well.
5. Using Harsh Communication
Harsh communication can include anything that puts your partner down, such as name-calling and insults. When we get angry, we tend to discuss our problems with whoever happens to be around. Often times this is with friends and family. We need to be careful when discussing things that we don’t put our husband down. Talking negatively about your mate to others will only distance you more from him. Make sure you only speak positively about your husband to others, or don’t bring him up in the conversation.
The things I’ve given are what to avoid in marital communication, now I will give you tips you can use. Smalley says we can reach an effective level of communication through “LUVR: Listen, Understand, Validate and Respond.”
Listening communicates that you are interested in what your husband has to say and that it is important to you. Understanding includes paraphrasing to make sure you understand everything he just said to you. When he validates this, he lets you know if you understood him correctly, so there is no miscommunication. The response is how you respond to his validation.
These are just a few tips on how to effectively communicate, and there are many more out there. Make sure you initiate the changes in communication with your husband. Don’t wait on him to make the move, because he might not know exactly where to start. Instead, do everything you can on your part to listen and communicate with him. It’s a lifelong learning process.
This article is based on the book Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late by Dr. Gary Smalley.