How to Turn Around Negative Communication Habits in Marriage… Part One

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Communication is not talking.  We’ve all been talking since we were little.  Communication is a learned skill.  One that is unfortunately not usually taught in the home, school or work environments.  But the good news is, is that it’s never too late to learn.  So, with some determination, persistence and patience, you can start communicating with your spouse better than ever before.  


Communication is a vulnerable process.  I like to compare it to a bridge, which we have to cross to have anything happen in our marriages.  If we want to organize family affairs, schedules, finances and daily, business of having a partnership and running a family, we have to cross that bridge.  If we need to discuss more sensitive and intimate topics, like how to raise our children, what to do when our spouse has hurt us or does something that upsets us, we have to cross that bridge.  


It’s crucial that as we face these things, we don’t destroy the bridge between us.  If we criticize, belittle, be dismissive of our partner, name call, guilt-trip, or engage in angry, explosive types of communication, that’s like sending a volley of fiery arrows at the bridge.  It will soon burn and turn to ash.  If you’ve been stuck in any of these negative habits, you’re going to need to learn some new skills.


The first tip, is to sit down and decide how you really want to communicate in your marriage.  I recommend doing this first on your own, and then either implementing it on your own, or coming together to discuss it together after you’ve both given it some thought.  Write down your answers to these questions:

  1.  How do I want to communicate with my spouse on a daily basis?  How do I want us to discuss daily “business” type topics, as well as the more intimate and sensitive ones?

  2. How do I want to look and sound when I’m communicating with my spouse? (Write this out in vivid detail as though you were watching yourself on video)

  3. How would I love to feel when I’m communicating with my spouse?

  4. What is a conversation I would love to have with my spouse?

  5. What is the best way we could have that conversation?

  6.  How would I like us to handle difficult conversations, and disagreements?

  7. What is the best way we could have those conversations and disagreements? How would I like to behave and handle myself?

  8. What do I need to change in myself to get there?

  9. What does my ideal communication with my spouse look, feel and sound like? (Write out a description of the best communication you could have)

*Notice that all of these questions focus on “me” and “us” not “you.”  The best thing you can do for your marriage and yourself is focus upon what you can change and improve rather than demanding or expecting your partner to change.  Coming at it from this humble approach will open your spouse’s heart and move your communication, trust and connection forward faster and more joyfully.  

After you have made your list of your ideal communication, we’ll go over how to have this conversation about communication with your spouse in Part Two.

Thrive On,

Heather Choate

Freebie: Want to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are in your communication and learn how to improve your communication habits in your marriage?  Grab our Free Marriage Communication Assessment here:

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