Remember your anniversary. Check. Have a weekly date night. Check. Take care of yourself so you’ll be attractive to your spouse. Check. Pack school lunches. Check. Work hard so you can bring home a big…check. Being responsible, doing nice things for one another, checking off all the right boxes – it’s all part and parcel to having a good marriage. And yet, nothing will do more to benefit your marriage than learning how to communicate with your spouse. Nothing.
Even in the best of marriages – the long-haulers, the still-holding-hands, the bastions of marital wisdom – there are disagreements, disappointments, and periods of downright “grrrr!”
Interesting, isn’t it, how easily (and naively) couples fall into the fantasy that “who they are together” began when they actually got together.
It’s not a completely misguided notion. After all, you do create a unique “we” simply by virtue of who you are and how you interact.
But “who you are” has been evolving since you were born. And it’s 50% of that interaction you think of as “this is us.”
You become enamored with all that makes you alike, in agreement, headed in the same direction. What magnetizes you holds you together – first when coming together is so easy and exciting, and later when staying together takes work.
When the relationship fights you keep having make you think you’re on a marital hamster wheel, the real work begins.
Those early days of everything going right and being so easy didn’t point to the issues that now never take a rest.
Suddenly you’re realizing that the two of you aren’t communicating in a good way. You both have needs, wants, feelings, beliefs, and opinions that started a long time before you met. And, for some reason, you’re not able to get onto the same page.
If so, did you ever consider that the outcome of any given conflict isn’t as important as learning how to communicate with your spouse?
Improving your relationship has very little to do with “winning” arguments or getting your way more than your spouse.
It has everything to do with deepening your emotional intimacy by constantly working on your communication.
Once you embrace the truth that you are always communicating, everything will begin to make sense. And learning how to communicate with your spouse in a healthy way will become the obvious key to improving your relationship.
Everyone knows that healthy communication is vital to a relationship. But how and why it improves a relationship isn’t as frequently discussed.
Here, then, are 7 reasons that learning how to communicate with your spouse in a healthy way will improve your marriage.
It expresses value for your spouse and your marriage.
One of the greatest factors that lead people to relationship and then marriage is the yearning to feel heard. Deeply, compassionately, consequentially heard. It’s a longing that follows us our entire lives.To be heard at a soul level is to be validated and valued.
To listen at a soul level is to affirm that value.
That exchange is the pinnacle of emotional intimacy. It demands maturity, responsibility, vulnerability, trust, and commitment from both of you.
And, not only does it express value for one another, but it affirms the supremacy of the marriage itself as something precious to be protected.
It builds trust between you.
The magic of marriage lies in its intimacy – not just physical, but emotional and spiritual, as well.Intimacy relies on vulnerability. And vulnerability relies on trust. The chain can’t be broken, and no link can be left out if you are going to achieve that “alchemy of love.”
Healthy communication requires great trust and courage. To share your deepest feelings, wants, fears, and flaws with another person is to risk that s/he may wound you with them later.
The courage to lay your heart bare inspires courage in your partner.
Likewise, when you wrap your partner’s vulnerability in the faithfulness of your tender care, you increase its reciprocity toward your own vulnerability.
It demonstrates respect.
Healthy communication is imbued with respect.The commitment to learning how to communicate with your spouse says, in part, “I don’t expect you to read my mind. It’s my responsibility to communicate clearly what I want you to know. Likewise, it’s my responsibility to listen to what you communicate to me and to reflect my understanding in my response.”
It also says, “I respect you so much that I trust you with my heart, and I want your heart to feel safe with me.”
It gives you the opportunity to connect with and verbalize your feelings.
Recognizing, identifying, and connecting with feelings isn’t as simple as being able to cry at the drop of a hat. It takes a well-developed self-awareness to acknowledge and accept your feelings, let alone to accurately identify them.And it takes a big dose of self-esteem to give them permission and a safe place for expression.
It’s the denial, diminishment, and misidentification of feelings that lead to your true feelings being bottled up and misrepresented.
Consider the emotion that always gets a bad rap: anger. Say the word, and assumptions of hostility, lack of self-control, and anger mismanagement are quick to come up.
It can provide power, energy, protection, and an alignment with justice and action on its behalf.
It’s unrealistic to expect that, just because you love someone, you will never feel anger because of something that person did.
Learning how to communicate with your spouse is, in part, about learning how to communicate with yourself.
Honesty within yourself is the first step toward honesty with others.
And honesty with your own feelings – positive and negative – will give you a solid foundation for their honest (and appropriate) expression.
It allows you to learn nuances about your spouse.
Do you want your marriage to stand the test of time? Or are you content not to recognize your spouse when your children empty the nest and leave the two of you alone?The only way to come through that plot-shifting chapter in your lives is to communicate all along. The big things? Obviously. The little things? Absolutely.
It’s the nuances – even (especially) the little “secrets” just between the two of you – that build intimacy and the most lasting memories.
It makes you a stronger team.
When you and your spouse practice mindful communication, you can achieve powerful results.The self-discipline involved in mindfulness techniques deepens your self-awareness, prompts you to make favorable adjustments, and strengthens your self-accountability.
When both of you commit to this kind of presence in your relationship, you’ll notice that you become closer and more in-tune with one another.
That kind of chemistry will fuel your intimacy both in and out of the bedroom.
And it will help you become an invincible team.
It makes your marriage and life more fun.
Remember all the fun you had getting to know one another in your dating days? You could talk until the phone was literally hot. And you could create a thousand brilliant colors out of an 8-pack of Crayolas.Hot-’n’-heavy hormones alone didn’t make that happen. You had to surrender to practically losing your mind to love. You had to infuse your budding relationship with curiosity and a willingness to “learn” the other person.
Learning how to communicate with your spouse now that you’re married can be just as fun and rewarding.
You just won’t have to deal with those crazy hormones keeping you up all night.
The work of communication isn’t just about learning how to communicate with your spouse without fighting. It’s also about re-envisioning the marriage you dreamed of years ago and strategizing its manifestation.
It’s like creating a new nutrition program for your health. What “junk food” do you need to take out of your “diet”? And what “superfoods” do you need to add?
Relearning how to feed a relationship is no less important than relearning how to feed your body.
But, when you’re dealing with one-and-only’s, some things are worth everything.