How To Communicate With Your Spouse

personal development relationship Sep 12, 2021

“We need to talk” are undoubtedly four of the scariest words to hear from a spouse. They conjure up the idea that something isn’t right. They are words that precipitate some of the most challenging conversations between couples. That said, knowing how to communicate with your spouse will be a vital factor if you are going to effectively deal with whatever issue(s) you may be experiencing. Here are three tips for being a more effective communicator.

Build connection

Connection with your spouse is one of the most significant components of effective communication. According to Dr. Brene Brown, connection is “The energy that exists between two people when they feel seen, heard and valued, when they can give and receive without judgment, and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” In other words, connection is the closeness you feel with your spouse, resulting in a deep sense of friendship.  

When two people in a relationship feel seenheard, and understood, it makes a world of difference in the communication process. Hence, couples who share a deep friendship in a relationship will be better at problem-solving and communicating how they feel than those who do not.

Avoid sending mixed messages

When we are engaged in any form of communication, we send messages that we hope the listener will receive and, in turn, respond favorably towards us. Every message that gets sent during the process has three components:

  1.  The actual content accounts for 7 percent of the message sent.
  2.  The vocal or tone of the voice accounts for 38 percent of the message sent.
  3.  The nonverbal, which accounts for 55 percent of the message sent. 

If there are incongruences between your tone of voice and your behavior, your spouse may find what you are saying misleading. To avoid mixed messages and be more effective when communicating with your spouse, ensure that the three components are complementary since people tend to trust nonverbal cues more than they trust your words.

Describe your feelings rather than going into attack mode

As you talk about what’s bothering you, describe how you feel as clearly as possible and avoid the temptation of going into attack mode. Attack mode usually consists of “you” statements. The essence of a “you” statement is that; “I am hurting, and you did it to me.” This approach will escalate the problem, as it blames your spouse, who now goes into a “fight or flight” mode, due to the feeling of being under attack.

Using “I” statements is more disarming and expresses how you feel. For example, “I feel jealous when I see you hugging that woman each time you meet.” This approach is non-threatening and tells your partner what you are feeling without any form of criticism or judgment in the process.