Communication Tips for Married Couples
I learned sign language as a child. I was an interpreter for the deaf when I was in my teens, and still have deaf friends. Sign language is woven into the fabric of me.
So, when I encounter a person who does not speak English, my go to move is to sign to them.
It seems silly, but it is an automatic response.
When we lived in Germany, if my rudimentary German could not successfully communicate my request, I would start to sign. I am aware other people raise their voice in a futile attempt to correct failed communication, but my go to is communicate with my hands.
Funny sidebar, at a Greek restaurant one night in Germany, I broke out my signs to the waitress because she was not understanding my special dietary request, and she signed “wait” and came back with another guest dining that night who was deaf and we signed together!
I got my correct order and made a new friend to boot!
You must speak the same language as the person you are trying to communicate with.
This holds true with the language our heart speaks as well. The Five Love Languages book by Gary Chapman is an excellent book and in my opinion a must read for every couple. We reference it in every marriage group we lead. I will not summarize it today in this mini-post. My only goal today is to prick your curiosity. I have written a detailed post in 2017 if you want more information before you commit to read this book (https://wordwashedwife.com/blog/2017/9/24/love-the-language).
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: In order to communicate well with your spouse, you must understand how they hear. It’s not as tricky as it sounds. Consider the three following suggestions:
1) Be a Student of Your Spouse: You need to know everything about them, what makes them tick, what frustrates them and what they need. This is not done in a day, but in many days spent side by side, intentionally doing life together. For example, I noticed years ago my husband’s ears don’t work when he is hungry. Seriously. I now start important conversations after he has eaten. Silly, maybe. But today, my husband and his full belly, listen well to the important matters of my heart.
2) Listen to How Your Spouse Communicates: Most people broadcast in the same mode they receive. When my husband tells me a story or an important piece of information, he gives me detail in chronological order with little or no emotional embellishment. If I ask “how did that make you feel?” He will answer, but it is not in his vocabulary naturally. So, I’ve learned to communicate detailed facts on my first run with him. I highlight the facts I want him to digest first. After he has asked clarifying questions about details and time lines, etc.… he then can hear as I explain why the story is so important to me or why I want it to be important to him.
3) Always be Kind: It is a proven fact that kind words are easier to hear. This does not eliminate hard conversations, but approach them with kindness. I would suggest you sandwich hard truths them between kind words so they can be digested without giving your spouse heartburn 😊! For example, I can let Jody, my husband, have access to a hurt in my heart if I start with a compliment of how well he loves me, insert issue, and close with a statement of how proud I am to be his wife. This kindness sandwich allows my husband’s heart to remain open and then consider my words. It is not manipulation, but smart communication. Try serving your spouse a Kindness Sandwich tonight- what have you got to lose!
Thank you for reading, friend!
Stay washed in the word and love your spouse well- in word and deed!
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11