Improve communication with your partner

Henlie Holm

Dr Gary Smalley is a marriage expert who has published more than 40 marriage and parenting books. He supplies the following practical ways to improve communication between marriage partners:

  • Be aware of your body language. Keep an open, relaxed posture. Crossed arms and legs send an unconscious message that I am closed off from positive communication. Turn your chair towards your partner and maintain eye contact.
  • Use encouraging signals like nodding and words like “yes”, “really?” and “I see” to show your partner that you are listening actively.
  • Create the right atmosphere by eliminating conclusions, in order to be able to listen effectively.
  • Repeat your partner’s core argument to ensure that you keep track of what your partner is verbalising. Here sentences like: “Do I understand correctly? Your need is that I sometimes act only as a sounding board, without trying to fix everything.”
  • Loving touch: The power of loving touch builds a bridge between you and your partner. It defuses the tension between partners and gives the message: “It is my loved one in front of me … not my enemy.”  

So, before you start thinking about your answer during a conflict situation next time, first become quiet and calm. Really listen to your partner. Promise each other that you will listen to each other and answer with love. It is true that our communication needs and ways differ, but our dedicated, loving communication with each other is the “antidote” for this adder of miscommunication, which forces the life from our marriage. Even though our brains are “wired” differently, we can win back our marriage happiness by listening and talking with intention and gentleness.

Enjoy your marriage.  It is a precious gift from God.

Originally published in My Child and I, Autumn 2019.

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