Communication In Marriage
Sheri Meyers (Marriage and Family Therapist) gives expert video advice on: How can I get my spouse to listen to me?; How can I stop myself from getting angry at my spouse?; How can I stop my spouse from yelling at me? and more...
What constitutes effective communication in marriage?
We often hear the term ‘effective communication'. What is effective communication in marriage? It's very simple. Your message sent is the message received. What you say to your partner is actually heard by your partner. That's effective communication.
Why is effective communication so important to a healthy marriage?
Effective communication is vital to a healthy marriage. If you think about it, besides sex, what builds greater intimacy? The truth is we talk to each other a lot more than we have sex. Talking to each other, learning how to talk to each other, learning how to effectively hear each other and saying words that can be heard by your partner is the basic building block of your true intimacy in the marriage. Few experiences are more gratifying than expressing yourself, saying something that is deep and personal and having it heard and received by your partner, having them understand and know you better.
What is an 'I' statement?
In a good I statement, you are making a statement about your "I". That's why its called an "I" statement: "I feel, I need, I want." You keep it clean and clear. That is when you're making an I statement in marriage communication.
How do I make an effective 'I' statement?
A good example of how an I statement would sound is this: "When I walk into the room and I see you watching TV., and you don't look up, you don't look at me, I feel really sad and disconnected, because I believe that our marriage is falling apart as there's so much distance. What I need is, when I say hello, for you to say hello back. Can you do that?"
What can my spouse and I do if we have trouble dealing with emotional issues?
I hear so many couples complain when one partner tends to be rational and the other tends to be emotional. The emotional partner says, "Whenever I get emotional, my partner just gets up and walks out of the room. Not only does that make me more emotional, but I also feel abandoned, which adds to the problems." If you are the emotional partner, and you are watching your partner walk out of the room, here are some things you need to do. If you cannot calm your emotions, chances are that it's not a good time to talk to your partner, because they're not going to be able to hear you. In more rational times, you need to be able to sit down with your partner and work out a plan of action so when you are upset and need to express yourself, there's a way to do it that your partner can sit and tolerate and listen. Each of you need to work through that by talking about what it feels like on each end. When a partner gets up and walks out of the room, what you are experiencing is fear walking. They are scared. They're not going to tell you they're scared, but they are scared. There is a conditioned response from childhood that when they see emotion, they shut down - they can't handle it, and it's flight. They need to escape. So if you are the emotional partner, you need to understand that is fear. With fear in place, chances are your partner is not going to be a good person to talk to in this moment. You need to cool down, your partner needs to melt a little bit, and then you can meet in the middle.
What is a 'power struggle'?
A power struggle is a defensive position. It's me versus you; there's no us in sight. When you are in the right and wrong - "I win, you lose" - the real loser is the relationship.
What is the 'Oreo Cookie' technique?
The Oreo Cookie is a fabulous technique for expressing what you would like changed or making criticism that you have palpable. You start with the chocolate layer of the Oreo Cookie. The chocolate is stating a positive: what you do like, something that's really good that's happening in your relationship. The filling is the criticism or the negative: the "However, this is what I want, this is what I'm not happy with." Then you seal the Oreo Cookie with chocolate: "I want us to work this out. I want our relationship to be the best it can possibly be." Positive, what you want changed, positive. t works.
What are some body language don'ts in communication?
Here are some very important don'ts to do with your body, if you want to have a happy, successful relationship and certainly get out of your problems. Don't cross your arms because it is crossing blocking your heart. Don't fidget, don't do this thing with your fingers where you make noise, tapping, tapping, tapping with your fingers. Don't roll your eyes, grimace, or sigh like you are frustrated, because all of these things communicate: "I don't care." When our partner doesn't feel loved, that's going to act more .
What are some body language do's in communication?
If you want your partner to know that you are listening and involved, there are some things you can do. You lean in, make really good eye contact, and let your expression be one of receiving. You might be nodding in agreement. Even if you don't agree, nod to let them know that you really are taking them in. Allow your body to be relaxed and remember to breathe, because that will keep you open and receptive to hearing your partner. Hold your partner's hand. There's nothing more literal or potent in marriage communication than feeling each other and saying, "We are here and we are together. We will get through this."
What are some common negative communication patterns?
Negative communication patterns can really destroy a good conversation, so let me show you some negative communication patterns. One is laboring your point, going on and on and never letting your partner get a word in edgeways - in a way overwhelming the conversation. Another is becoming very critical of your partner, blaming your partner, discounting your partner. These things are never going to work. Stomping out of the room and making all this fuss doesn't work; it is a real negative communication pattern. Leaning away, crossing your arms, crossing your legs and looking very disinterested or bored are bad communication patterns in marriage communications.
What is the difference between 'listening' and 'hearing'?
The difference between listening and hearing is that with listening, you are open to receive. You are opening to hopefully receive and hear. Hearing is the act of actually receiving the information, taking it in, and understanding it during marriage communication.