Communication is one aspect of relationships that you can look at and gauge the health of the relationship. When respect for the other person is made clear and their side is always considered, it is likely that the relationship is healthy. If there is obvious contempt on the part of one party or verbal abuse, the relationship is unhealthy.
Here are five ways that you can keep your relationship healthy with communication!
1. Never Assume
One of the most common ways that misconceptions and strive creep into a relationship is through assumptions. When having tough discussions, it is best to listen to what the other person is saying rather than assuming that you know what they have said or where they are going within their thought process.
My husband made an interesting observation along these lines about me last night. We were editing a book by reading it out loud. He read it word for word, while I read it conceptually by putting it missing words without even realizing it. In this way, we are different. I fill in gaps (sometimes gaps that aren’t meant to be filled) while he takes things literally.
This could be the difference between men and women, or it could be just my husband and I, but it is good to evaluate your interaction between your spouse to see if your conversations include incorrect assumptions. Bringing clarity to your interaction may reduce unnecessary fighting and misunderstandings.
2. Explain Multiple Ways
When my husband explains a new concept to me, he phrases the concept in three different ways. It is a quirk of his, but it has worked to our advantage. By looking at a problem or situation from a few different vantage points, you can remove potential misconceptions about what is happening or being discussed.
3. Bring Things Up at a Reasonable Time
I have a bad habit of trying to tell my husband all about my day right when he walks in the door from work. He is usually tired, doesn’t have the capacity to listen, and gets a little cranky at times from being accosted after a hard day at work.
Now that we’ve identified this as a problem in our relationship, I write down things I want to tell him throughout the day and bring them up to him at a time when he is better rested and able to think through what I am saying. This isn’t a hard and fast rule of course. When there is something that is time sensitive, I just let him know and we address it as needed.
4. Evaluate Your Interaction for Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse is something that happens in relationships more often than we would like to admit. It can be something so simple as calling our significant other an unsavory name, or screaming and yelling. It is unhealthy, and if it is happening in your relationship, I recommend finding a trusted counselor to help you both work through your frustration and begin articulating your arguments with strong logical and not raised voices.
5. Find Resources to Help
When my husband and I first got married, we read His Needs, Her Needs together. It is about affair-proofing your marriage, and it really helped us set the tone for what to expect and how we each operate. There are many other books that have taught me more about male psychologically, sexuality, relationships, etc. I highly recommend finding some resources to help you learn about your spouse. The more you know, the better able you will be to understand and empathize.
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