How to communicate better with your spouse
If you have a lot of disagreements with your spouse and you want to have a healthy and strong relationship with them, you need to get familiar with the principles of how to communicate better with your spouse. This is important because learning how to communicate better with your spouse can help you solve your problems more easily. More than that, it can help you prevent your spouse from going cold on you. And last but not least, it teaches many young couples who have just met or married each other how to build a relationship from the beginning. In this article, we are going to discuss the ways on how to communicate better with your spouse so that you will have a lasting relationship. Spare a few minutes to get familiar with these principles.
Focus on your desires
If you want to learn how to communicate better with your spouse, you must, first, determine what your desires are. If instead of pursuing desires that are rooted in your unique personality, you spend your time and energy searching for and achieving what you think you “should” pursue, you will step away from true happiness.
When it comes to a romantic relationship and improving your communication with your spouse, you need to determine your needs first. How do you want to treat your spouse and how should they treat you? Once you have a clear understanding of your desires, you can really examine your patterns of behavior and see if these patterns will help you communicate better with your spouse and achieve eternal love or, conversely, hinder you, then change these patterns if necessary.
Know your emotional stimuli and learn the ways to calm yourself down
Once you know your emotional stimuli, you can identify when these stimuli are likely to be activated. We all bring issues and problems from our past, our childhood, previous relationships, educational experiences, and, of course, our families. No one is without problems, but if you know your emotional stimuli, you will, surely, find out when they can be triggered.
Monitor your behavior and don’t forget to be self-centered, even when your spouse is angry with you. To see if you know your stimuli, say something like, “I’m feeling … (tell your feelings) now and I think you’re pointing at something in the past that has nothing to do with you.” When you specifically name the stimulus, your spouse realizes that the issue is more serious than a simple discussion. Once this sensitivity is understood, you will react better if you are in a similar situation in the future. (To read more see why spending time with your partner is important.)
Although generosity is usually a positive and desirable trait, by being overly generous and spending large sums of money on expensive gifts and luxurious restaurants, you may send the wrong message to your current or future spouse. Instead, by showing your desire to spend money more wisely, you will have a better impact on your spouse, because this behavior shows that you have self-control skills and are likely to increase your wealth over time.
Try to understand your partner
The cycle of criticism and defensiveness is one of the most common negative patterns in marital relationships. This cycle occurs when your spouse says something that you take as an attack or unfair judgment, and as a result, you become defensive.
This pattern puts both parties in a position where they are reluctant to listen to each other. Once you are in a position to defend yourself, you lose the opportunity to understand your spouse. However, when you are aware of how to communicate better with your spouse, you will no longer be defensive towards your partner.
Simply put, even if you feel that your spouse has brutally attacked or criticized you, try to understand your spouse’s feelings and thoughts before any reaction.
Some problems, especially minor problems, can be best solved by cooperating and taking a kind approach that does not attack either side. But in order to solve serious problems, you have to deal with them in a more direct and open way.
Of course, this approach will only be effective if both parties have enough confidence and feel secure in the relationship that they react in a constructive way. When one of the parties lacks self-confidence, a critical or protesting approach will do more harm to the relationship.
Start a conversation with phrases like “I think…,” “How do you feel about…,” or “We can….”
Phrases like “you always…,” “you never…,” “you should…,” mean judging the other party and will stifle a constructive and fruitful conversation.
Practice empathy to cultivate closer relationships
Empathy, like oxygen, requires a warm, loving relationship to bring fire to life. Empathy means putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes and seeing the world through his or her eyes. When you respond to your spouse with empathy, the bond between you becomes stronger and a sense of security and trust develops.
But when you feel that you are constantly being attacked by your spouse, empathy is the last thing in the world you would like to show to your spouse. To empathize with your spouse, you must be able to understand your partner that is the key to finding out how to communicate better with your partner.
Practicing empathy doesn’t mean that you have to give up your desires or give up your perceived reality. Empathy means setting aside your point of view, even for a moment, so that you can get to know a small part of your spouse’s mindset.
Start practicing empathy in small steps and gradually take bigger ones – even imagining just one to five percent of your spouse’s feelings is enough to get you started. Your spouse notices the change, won’t be that defensive, and has a chance to improve the relationship. (To know more see how to communicate effectively in a relationship.)
Be curious about your spouse’s views
When you feel that your spouse is unnecessarily reprimanding and ruthlessly criticizing and attacking you, it is easy to be curious about your spouse’s views. Remember that it is one of the best things that can help you know how to communicate better with your spouse.
In this way, you disarm your spouse in a positive way, and the fountain of tension that has arisen between you and the sky will be quickly overthrown. This curiosity helps you to learn new things about your spouse and to be able to use these materials in your conversations to reach a good solution.
You can disagree with your spouse’s views and still maintain your curiosity and interest in their different views. The next time you feel like another hot topic, practice this curiosity and see what you get.
Listen to subdued emotions or unmet hidden needs
When your spouse is upset and criticizes you, or you feel that your spouse is blaming you time and again, there is always an unmet desire or need or a feeling of depression behind their shouts. Your challenge is to get to the story behind these criticisms and see if you can bring out this hidden feeling.
When you expose this feeling and carefully consider whether your spouse is feeling the same way, you can put aside hatred, resentment, and superficial anger and come to the main feeling that needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Of course, this is not easy, because to do it you need to get out of the current controversy and hear what is not being said and try to remain silent. (To read more see non-judgmental listening.)
Mind your sexual desires
You also need to put aside your defenses and sensitivities so that you can relate to your spouse’s deeper needs. This time, when you encounter a disagreement and a new issue begins, wait a moment and see if you can feel the unspoken word in the conversation between you and your spouse.
In other words, remind yourself that your spouse is upset but can’t share all their frustrations with you. Listen carefully to what your spouse has to say and use your curiosity to find out which of their hidden feelings and needs they don’t reveal.
Talk about sex
Levels of sexual desire and desire of spouses are generally different and each may enjoy different sexual activities. Husbands and wives who have open communication and discuss sexual issues with each other are better able than couples who are reluctant to talk about these issues. As such, open communication helps couples to resolve personal and relationship issues by establishing a goal of maintaining or rejuvenating their sex life.
Psychologists encourage spouses to sit together once in a while and assess the health of their relationship. It is important to talk about all aspects of the relationship, including sex. If both parties know that there is an opportunity for discussion, this awareness will help alleviate any tensions or concerns they may have about their unmet needs. In addition, spouses prove to each other that they value the health of their relationship by creating opportunities for conversation.
Respect personality differences
If you are introverted, you know that you are not necessarily shy, but rather disgusted by meaningless conversations and don’t enjoy thoughtless activities. You care more about your time, the way you spend it, and the person you spend your precious time with. There is nothing wrong with this mindset.
You can fall in love with introverts like yourself, but if one day you realize that you have fallen for an extrovert – which often happens – you need to recognize and respect your individual differences and instead of constantly arguing about them, use them to communicate better with your partner. For example, an extroverted spouse helps you to experience new things. All successful relationships need guidance and negotiation, and from time to time you have to do things differently and as your spouse wants.
Predict problems before they become troublesome
You could have solved many of your current relationship problems much sooner, but you didn’t. Avoiding to talk about small issues often results in a much bigger issue.
Maybe when everything seems to be right, you don’t want to ruin the situation and disturb your peace. You may think that arguing is useless. But the fact is that spouses who avoid discussing the issues in their lives almost always face bigger and bigger problems. Discuss problems, no matter how small, and don’t stop talking until you find a solution.
One way to stifle problems is to have regular conversations so that you can talk about your problems in these sessions to see where your relationship is headed. This structure gradually builds confidence in your ability to resolve inconsistencies. (To read more see how to discuss relationship problems without fighting.)
Practice positive psychology
Positive psychology takes into account the factors that contribute to happiness and individual well-being. According to a study, the rate of positive interactions of the happier spouses is five times their negative interactions.
Don’t forget that trying to make up for a negative experience with a positive one may not be enough, as the impact of negative behavior is often much stronger and deeper.
Hence, you should take every opportunity to be emotionally supportive of your spouse. Do your best to appreciate and thank them, forgive their negligence, respond to them with interest, and plan to spend quality time together in exciting and new ways. Investing in positive behavior and thinking will make the relationship more satisfying, and will keep you united and empathetic when you experience difficult times in the future or experience inevitable incompatibility and problems. (To know more see how to get your partner to open up.)
The Bottom Line
If you have a disagreement with your spouse or you are at the beginning of your life and you want to have a healthy and lasting relationship with them, it is better to know how to communicate with your partner. To begin with, you should focus on your emotional sensibilities.
Try to understand your spouse. Talk to them and try to be empathetic. Pay close attention to their unspoken feelings. Share your sexual needs with them and ask about their opinions. You should respect your personality differences, as well. And last but not least, try to be optimistic and enjoy your life together.