Do you ever feel like no matter how much you try to communicate with your husband, things just go wrong? Maybe there is a misunderstanding, or maybe your husband gets frustrated over trying to share his thoughts.
In his book, Learning to Live With the Love of Your Life… And Loving It!, Dr. Neil Clark Warren reveals ten secrets to a triumphant marriage. Secret #6 is “Learn How to Talk.”
Take a look at some of the common roadblocks to good communication below. Some may apply to your husband…but some may apply to yourself. Be honest in your own examination of areas you might need to work on. Then work together as a couple on overcoming these roadblocks.
Dr. Warren has found four main factors that contribute to difficulties in communication:
Reason #1: Low Self-Esteem
If a person doesn’t highly value themselves, they may figure that what they have to say isn’t going to be highly valued either. So they either clam up or they keep conversation to a superficial level. These people need to work on getting themselves emotionally healthy first before they can effectively share themselves with others. If your husband suffers from low self-esteem, make sure he knows that you value and respect his thoughts and feelings. If you are the one who lacks confidence and self-worth, begin working on the issues that are holding you back. If you need to, don’t be afraid to talk with a counselor.
Reason #2: Fear of Criticism and Judgment
Perhaps you have been critical of your spouse, maybe without even realizing it — the way he wears his clothes, or mows the lawn or even the jokes he tells. Or perhaps you were criticized by your parent as a child, and have always been in fear of what others think of you. No matter when criticism has been experienced in life, it can set up a person to fear communicating and becoming vulnerable with others. No one wants to be ridiculed or judged for what they say. So be sure to create a safe environment with your husband so that you both will feel that you are able to share without being attacked.
Reason #3: Lack of Knowledge About Internal Happenings
Most people do not take the time for introspection to examine their emotions, desires and what makes them tick. If you don’t know yourself very well, how are you going to communicate what you need or feel to your husband? Or if your husband doesn’t understand or recognize his own emotions, he may act angry when really he is depressed inside. Encourage your spouse to understand the motives for his behavior or responses. And take the time to examine your own inner thoughts and feelings, as well. Perhaps you have your own blind spot that is preventing you from communicating the whole story.
Reason #4: Inability to Put Thoughts and Feelings into Words
Your husband may have many thoughts he wants to share, but maybe he doesn’t know how to communicate them. Or maybe you have such a mix of emotions, you don’t know how to communicate them all. But like with any skill, communication can be learned and it needs to be practiced in order to improve. If needed, buy a book on communication skills or talk with a marriage counselor on how you can effectively share with your husband.
This article is based on the book, Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life by Dr. Neil Clark Warren.