When my husband and I first got married, we really struggled to communicate with one another. He had a passive style of communication and was a verbal processor, while I processed everything internally first and have a direct style of communication. He would often feel threatened by my direct communication, and I was often confused about what he was actually saying. Then I would get frustrated because I didn’t understand or I was misinterpreting what he was actually saying.
1. The Tool of Proper Timing.
A conversation can be successful if the timing of the conversation is carefully chosen. Timing is so important in having a spouse truly hear you. This goes for hard conversations or ones where you have something important to share or even when you just hope they will share your joy about something. Ask yourself if either one of you is Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, and if the answer is yes, remember the word HALT and choose another time to communicate.
2. Respond instead of React.
When an argument has started because of miscommunication, you have the power to stop it immediately. The idea is that the course of the argument isn’t determined by the person who initiates it but by the person who responds. If you feel your partner has done or said something to start an argument, you can choose to respond in a way that stops the argument. Instead of reacting, respond in a way that will not continue the argument. You can say something like: “Hey I feel like we’re heading into an argument; let’s take a break.” Or ask: “What’s really going on behind your words?” You can then proactively address the root issue in a tone of empathy.
3. The STOP Tool.
This tool is a great one to use when the conversation feels out of control.
• STOP: Stop the conversation if you are uncomfortable with the way it is going.
• TIME OUT: Create physical space and distance by taking a time out for at least 30-60 minutes or longer to regain your peace.
• OWN YOUR OWN PART: In the time apart, think about how you can take responsibility for your role in the problem or miscommunication. Don’t attack your partner or defend your position.
• PEACE OFFERING: After the time out, come back together with a peace offering: a promise to change a certain behavior or affirmation of your partner, something positive.
Here is a creative way to communicate using word pictures. And make sure you stay away from these 5 harmful communication habits. Make sure to use texting to encourage each other throughout the day. Here are some ideas for yourself and some for your husband. Use the Q & U app to get some questions to ask your spouse today.
Which one of these communication tools have you used most in your relationship?