Tips to Communicate Better With Your Spouse
By Randi Morse
I've been with my husband for 20 years. That is a really long time and each year we both say that it feels like a long time and yet like no time at all. I constantly have friends asking me how my husband and I are able to keep our relationship fresh and how we don't get bored with each other.
Making small talk sounds like something you only do when you're in a business meeting or stuck with someone on an elevator, but making small talk with your spouse is a great way to help improve the communication between the two of you. These seemingly insignificant discussions can actually create a deeper connection simply based on what you decide to talk about. Talking about the weather can lead to talking about what you'd like to do together because of the weather (if it's a nice day, take a walk, etc.). These little mundane moments can make a huge impact on the health of your relationship.
Talking About Work
One thing we all love to complain about is work, but I know that there have been plenty of times I've wanted to tell my husband to stop complaining about work because I'd heard the same things over and over. Don't do this! Your spouse is choosing to complain to you because they trust you and they want someone to commiserate with. If you shut them down, you're essentially saying that you don't care that they're miserable. If you get frustrated, look at your spouse and say something like, "It sounds like you're really frustrated at your job. What can I do to help?" In saying something like this, you're not only showing that you're listening, you're actively trying to help, and showing that you care.
Listen to Listen
One of the big problems with people communicating is that we often listen to respond instead of listening to listen. These are two very different things. The next time you're having a conversation with your spouse, take a moment to think about what's in your mind while they're talking. While you're listening are you trying to think about how you should answer them, or are you trying to take in what they're saying? If you're listening to respond, try to stop. Your brain can only do so many things at once, and if you're listening to respond you are not allowing your brain the processing power to listen to everything your spouse is saying.
Good communication truly is the basis of a healthy relationship, so make a pact to yourself, and each other, to work together to keep your communication skills strong.
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