What is the biggest thing in your relationship that you think needs the most work? This is a question that we ask a lot and the answer that we hear is communication.
When it comes to the word communication what do you think of first?……. Most people think of talking. The quickest way to improve communication and calm a situation is to listen.
Active listening! – Active listening is hardly talked about and is underrated.
There are immediate simple steps to take your relationship communication to higher levels.
There are many different websites that you can look up about this and they all have steps ranging from 3-10 to help you have better communication.
Face your spouse and have good eye contact
This is important so they know that they have your attention. Pay attention to your body language and make sure to not be rolling your eyes or making faces.
Josh and I have had to work on this and have come a long way since the beginning. We would have pursed lips or an angry stare at the other person. That is having eye contact but the wrong kind!
Pay attention to their body language
You can tell ESPECIALLY with your spouse what they are feeling by what you are saying by their body language. If they have their arms crossed or they are rubbing their eyes they are disinterested. Are they smiling? This is a good time to check your language too and how you are speaking to them.
This should go without saying with any conversation. Have you ever been speaking with someone and every time that you try to talk they interrupt you or cut you off? How frustrating is this?? Do you do this to your spouse? Interrupting is also very disrespectful and just based on the fact that men thrive off of respect, if you are interrupting your husband this will affect him more so than if he did it to you.
Josh and I both can struggle with this if we are in the heat of the moment but for the most part, we are pretty consistent. When I am speaking to someone that keeps cutting me off, depending on the situation and/or person that I am talking to, only one of two things will happen. I will say something to someone that I have a good relationship with because I know their heart and that they would want to have a good convo with me. If it is someone that I do not know that well, I pretty much just stop engaging, listen to their stories and then smile and say thanks for sharing and move on with my day.
Ever heard the quote:
“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down“
Stay focused & ask questions
This is something that you will take for granted with your spouse since you know them so well that you just assume that you know and understand what they mean. You will tune them out and be thinking about other things. Our partners deserve our time and attention. This is love and respect! Asking questions kills two birds with one stone. It shows that you are listening AND ensures that you are understanding what they are saying.
Josh is a saint with me when it comes to this! I do not actually hear him. I will think I know what he means and he will keep on repeating himself and I am like “I got it! I understand!” and he finally shuts down. Then sometimes it is DAYS later and it comes around full circle and I realize, on my own that I never understood what he was saying. Then I have to say OHHHHHH!! that’s what you were talking about, sorry babe! He just deals with it and knows that I will figure it out. Many spouses wouldn’t give their significant other that grace and understanding.
Paraphrase and summarize back
This is the #1 thing that you can do to anyone to let them know that you are listening. You repeat back to them what they just said. It is possible that you ask clarifying questions and then at the end, you summarize back to them what they said and it’s still not 100% correct or accurate. This is the most important one (in my opinion) because love all else if you didn’t do any of the other things but repeated back to them exactly what they were saying – they know you were listening. 🙂
Make a commitment to each other that these simple respectful things you will do for one another.
Your spouse deserves the best of you. Many times your spouse gets the leftovers because we are giving our best selves all day and then when we get home all bets are off! Our guards come off and we just aren’t patient and attentive to each other.
On a side note – if you are the one talking make sure to go with your G.U.T. – is it Good, is it useful, is it true? The rule of thumb is that if it is at least 2 of the three then it’s good to go. 🙂
We went live in our private group this week about this so please check it out. If you are not part of our group please join! 🙂 Christian Couples with Blended Families.
Remember – we love you, God loves you…..