Every relationship in our lives has communication as its foundation. In our relationships with our bosses, our relationships with our kids and in our marriages, communication is essential. When it breaks down, the relationship is in serious jeopardy. Marriage therapists Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz offer 5 rules that can save your marriage from failure due to a breakdown in communication.
Their article appeared in their Examiner.com column this week and they explain why good communication is so essential.
The heart of the matter is this – successfully married couples report a high level of satisfaction with the way they communicate with each other. They attribute their marital success first and foremost to the fact that they have honed their communication skills over time.”
The Schmitz’s interviewed thousands of couples to compile their top 5 tips on communication in marriage. Here’s what they came up with:
1. Effective marital communication always begins with proper engagement and in a proper context.
Don’t try to discuss a serious matter unless you and your spouse can give it your full attention.
Talking about serious matters cannot occur effectively when dealing with chaos, such as a blaring television, crying baby, phone calls, etc.”
It’s better to let an issue wait than to try to approach it at the wrong time, which can often lead to even more frustration and anger.
2. Follow proper communication etiquette.
The rules for communication in business and other situations also apply to your marriage.
Lower your voices, speak in a calm manner, make eye contact, listen intently and seek clarification if you don’t understand. Refrain from blaming, accusing, calling names, making nasty remarks or getting defensive.”
3. Agree about what the issues really are.
This is one of the best marriage tips we’ve heard in a long time:
Discussions about serious issues must always begin with agreement about what the issues really are.”
Agree on what the issue is and limit your discussion to that topic alone. Don’t allow past hurts and other issues to creep into the discussion and lead to a full-blown argument.
4. Always begin with brainstorming of ideas.
This is a great point. By starting the discussion on a constructive and positive note, you can better your chances of finding a solution without getting into a fight.
5. Never, we repeat, never be judgmental when debating issues with your mate.
We can’t agree more. Allowing judgmental behavior and remarks into your communication not only hurts your mate; it also makes openness more dangerous for you in future conversations.
The successfully married couples we have interviewed over the past 30 years report to us that they never felt invalidated by their spouse, that they always felt their arguments were heard, and that their opinions always mattered.”
If you want to be among those successful couples, take this list of communication rules to heart. Keeping your communication honest, safe and productive can save your marriage.