What Exactly Is Healthy Communication?

Time and time again, we come back around to this essential piece of healthy and happy relationships: communication. Being able to effectively communicate with your spouse is the cornerstone of good marriage, but what exactly does that mean?

You can know that communicating is important, but still not quite know how to pull it off… But we’re here to help! These three tips will drastically improve your ability to communicate, and with it, your ability to resolve problems in the marriage, grow closer together, build trust, and achieve greater intimacy.

1. Ask For What You Need

Your spouse is not a mind reader. No matter how intuitive or observant you may feel, you aren’t a mind reader either. That means that if you want each other to know what you’re thinking or feeling – you have to say something! If you have a problem or an unmet need, the very first step to resolving the issue is to bring it up to your spouse.

What Exactly Is Healthy Communication?
What Exactly Is Healthy Communication?

It might be uncomfortable to “rock the boat,” but if problems go unaddressed, they will only grow over time, and when they finally blow up – it will be much worse than if it had been addressed when it first came up.

Even outside of problems or complaints… To communicate effectively, you have to be vocal about what’s on your mind. It could be as simple as speaking up about dinner plans or asking to be left alone to finish a project. This can also include what you like and don’t like in the bedroom, decisions you’d like to be involved in, and on and on…

The point is to not hold your tongue. If you’ve got something to say, say it! Marriages should be built upon trust and mutual understanding. If you don’t speak up – especially when you need something – it’s impossible to build that kind of intimacy.

2. Tell The Truth

Speaking of trust and intimacy, no amount of communication will strengthen your marriage or resolve your problems if you aren’t telling the truth! If you truly love your spouse, you will be honest with them (even when it hurts), and they will do the same for you.

Not only does this apply to the discussions you have about the marriage itself, but everything else as well! That means telling them when you’ve had a rough day, not just saying “it’s fine.” It means letting your spouse know if you’re uncomfortable or agitated – or on the other side, telling them when you’re feeling great!

Open up share your true, authentic self with your spouse – both the good and the bad.

3. Listen More Than You Speak

This can be tough for people, but the most important part of communication isn’t speaking – it’s listening. This doesn’t mean just waiting for your turn to speak or just giving your spouse the space to talk. It means actually paying attention and absorbing what they have to say, “giving them the floor” to talk about what’s going on with them without changing the subject or getting lost in your own thoughts.

It’s easier said than done, but if you think about the importance of truly listening – and how you want to be heard when you speak – you can put this into practice. Part of good listening (and showing that you’re listening) is asking follow up questions. Ask your spouse why they feel the way they feel, what they would have liked to happen, etc. to give you more insight and detail about whatever it is they’re speaking to you about.

This helps keep the conversation on track, helps your spouse feel valued and important, and lets the two of you really dig into the topic at hand – instead of just staying on the surface level of reciting facts or recounting stories. Active listening, combined with the honesty and openness described above, is at the heart of effective communication.

There you have it – these three qualities of communication make all the difference between talking TO each other and talking AT each other. If you can employ all three of these elements in any and every discussion you have, you’ll be growing closer together, getting to know each other on a deeper level, and strengthening your marriage every step of the way.

Speak your mind, be honest, and listen – and your communication will flourish.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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