The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~Dorothy Nevill
I have often repeated how important communicating with your spouse is. When Colby and I had a breakdown of communication we lost all holds on our marriage. All holds. Everything broke loose and we were no longer able to hold our matrimony together. It simply fell apart once we stopped listening to each other. We had to relearn the art of communicating with each other.
Art of Communicating
There are several factors that play into simply conversing and carrying on with someone. We each may be different in how we carry out the act… but the end result should be the same. Open lines of communication and a trusting, loving relationship with our spouse. Therefore, there should be a few rules (so to speak) in your marriage when it comes to the art of communicating with your spouse.
- Listen! Easy enough, right? But don’t just hear what your spouse is saying… really listen. Pay attention to the words. Make eye contact as they speak and give them your undivided attention. Respond in an appropriate tone and in the proper places during the conversation. Let your spouse know that you are truly interested in what he/she is saying to you… and that you genuinely care.
- Validate their feelings. I am huge on this one. Do not tell me that my feelings are incorrect. I know what I feel… and I am sure your spouse does too. Whether intentional or not, sometimes feelings get hurt. If you are being given information that tells you that your spouse is hurting, validate those feelings. Let them know you understand and, if necessary, apologize. But do not make excuses and tell them their feelings are wrong. Believe me. Bad idea.
- Pay attention to your body language. Are you standing before your spouse with your arms crossed? Is your head buried in a book? Portray to your partner that they have your full attention by showing them both verbally and physically. Make eye contact (yes, again). Nod your head in agreement when needed. Face them and be willing to offer a hand when the time is right. Remain relaxed and open in order to let your spouse know you are truthfully and respectfully listening to the conversation.
- Ask questions without being condescending. Never imply that you know the answer before it has been asked. Do not assume anything. Ask open-ended questions and wait for a response… without judgement. It is difficult to not be defensive when you believe you are right in a conversation, but staying calm and non-accusatory can really go a long way.
- Avoid interrupting. This is perhaps the hardest for me. I always want to get out what I want to say as he says it… so I don’t forget. But, it is best to hear them out. Listen to each complaint, worry, praise, or whatever it may be until the end. Waiting until your spouse has finished talking simply shows that you both respect and care for their thoughts.
Okay—just for the record—Colby and I do not have it all down perfect. I am not the best wife by any means… but I do play one on the blog. Just kidding. But, I can say that we have come a long way. These are tips we do our very best to use when we have discussions. We fight fair to the best of our ability and try to listen and respect each other at all times. I believe it is a learning process that never stops. As we grow our communication styles grow with us.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill
What tips do you have for communicating? Are you growing in that area with your spouse as well?
Now for this week’s addition to my list of reasons I still love my husband:
36. He still opens doors for me. Whether walking into a store or climbing into our truck, he shows me chivalry is not dead.
37. He listens to my dreams and agrees with me that we can make them happen. No matter how big they are.
38. He pushes my buttons like no one else… but couldn’t if I didn’t love him so with every beat of my heart.
39. He deals with each of my idiosyncrasies… each and every crazy one. He may laugh at them but at least he deals with them.
40. He makes me focus on me when needed. And he knows better than I do when I need it.