Before my husband, Ryan, and I got married we asked those who had been married for a while what the most important skill to have as a couple was. We were told some pretty interesting things. However, time and time again we were told that it was open and effective communication. That seemed easy enough to us. We were very open with each other from day one and of course we were effective communicators…so we thought.
Although we had not mastered effective communication by the day of our wedding and still have yet to do so we have learned a lot on this journey so far! There are 6 things in communication that my husband and I have found to help us through the daily battlefield of communicating openly and effectively.
1. Be Respectful- When discussing family and friends it is important to be respectful towards those people. Husbands, even if your wife is expressing her opinion about them in one manner or the other, she may not appreciate it if you were to say the same kind of statement about them. She may feel it is okay for her to say those statements, but if you did she may feel like she has to defend them. (I know this might seem strange, but read #2 to understand better.)
Respect everyone and love you Christian brothers and sisters. -1 Peter 2:17
2. State What You Mean Clearly- This is more for women, but applies to both genders. Women often times think in between the lines. It is just how our brains work. We think about how and who it will effect. Our minds go in many directions at the same time, making our reasoning hard to follow. We have to remember to state clearly what we mean rather than speaking in hints or clues.
3. Think About What You Sound Like- This one is more for men, but again can apply to both genders. Men think differently than women. They think about one thing at a time. They have a one track mind. Therefore, they may say something that is very to the point. Men must think about how they sound before letting those words come out. Although they think they are being direct, some women see that as being rude or failing to discuss the topic.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. -Proverbs 15:1
4. Respond with Information- When a situation comes up that has aggravated us we have to respond with information. One time I forgot to wash my husband’s clothes he wanted clean for the following day. Instead of him reacting with, “You are so forgetful! I can not rely on you for anything!” He responded with information: “I am frustrated because I must now wear something I prefer not to wear.” He informed me of his feelings, but did not blame or attack me. We find that this keeps unneeded arguments at bay.
5. Questions = Not Understanding- Simply put: if your spouse is continuing to ask questions in a conversation it most likely means they are not understanding. They are missing information they need to make everything make sense and are trying to find it. Instead of getting upset, answer their questions so they can understand the situation as you do.
6. Ask What They Need- Often times it is hard to know when a conversation starts if our significant other is wanting you to listen, have a discussion, or needs advice. Instead of trying to decide that for yourself ask your spouse what they are needing in that conversation. It takes the guessing game out of it. Knowing that you met their need at the end of the conversation is always a great feeling!
Wise words bring many benefits and hard work brings reward…The wise listen to others. -Proverbs 12:14-15
These are 6 ways we have learned to have effective communication. Although we most often don’t use all the strategies at once we do use at least one. Keeping an open mind about how men and women think and communicate differently also helps us in our communication. I know that we also have more learning to do! It is a never ending learning process!
Leave a comment below: What is a tip you have for communicating effectively?