One of the most important parts of a healthy marriage is good communication. As life long partners it can be difficult sometimes to bring up uncomfortable feelings or issues. Many times I have found clients keep a lot to themselves for fear of how their spouse will react. I do find that most are pleasantly surprised when they open up about something that has been difficult to talk about and their partner responded favorably. They often find another surprise that by showing that vulnerability it brings them closer to their spouse. So what are these negative ways of communication?
Mind reading, I have heard this so many times from clients or even from my own spouse. “She should’ve known this was what I wanted,” or “I can’t believe he didn’t know I was hurt.” Yet this person did not let their needs be known and mistakenly assumed that their spouse should know this already. This is unfair to your spouse and can cause conflicts. When something is bothering you or there is something that is important to you, speak up! Let them know what is on your mind so there are no misunderstandings
Yelling to get your point across. When you become so frustrated it is easy to fall into this bad habit of yelling so you will be heard. When someone is being yelled at they tend to go on the defense and often are not hearing you. This can cause an argument that could’ve been prevented. If you find yourself getting angry, take a break and come back later to share your concerns in a calm voice.
Not communicating at all. This is a serious issue in a marriage when one or both spouses shut down and tune each other out. Sometimes this can be an unhealthy response to conflict or a way to “punish” their spouse. Its important to be self-aware and recognize when you are doing this so you can begin conversation again. It can be helpful to make a time weekly to talk about your feelings and really listen to their concerns without getting defensive. (this can be difficult but try to step back and give the space to talk)
Pitfalls to communication can happen in any marriage. The more aware you are the more you can take steps to overcoming them so you can keep healthy communication alive.