5 Ways To Improve Communication In Your Marriage
Good communication is essential for a strong and healthy marriage. When you and your spouse effectively communicate, you’re able to understand each other and work together as a team.
- Build trust
- Resolve conflicts in constructive ways
- Develop deeper connections
- Strengthen your relationship
Poor communication is one of the most common marriage problems. If you want to improve communication in your marriage here are five ways to get started. These tips will help you create a space that is safe for everyone to express their feelings and help create long-lasting change in how you communicate with your spouse.
1) Make Time for Meaningful Conversations
It’s important to carve out time from your busy schedule to really talk about any issues or concerns without interruption or distraction.
This could include:
- Having dinner together every night
- Having dedicated time to talk about how things are going in your relationship and family life
- Creating space for an open discussion after a disagreement
Sometimes, arguments between family members can get heated. So heated that it doesn’t feel safe for an open discussion after a disagreement. This can still be worked on. Conflict in any relationship is inevitable but practicing communication that isn’t accusatory or offensive really helps you be more open-minded and allows for deeper conversations.
2) Be Open-Minded and Nonjudgmental
Listening with an open mind is key when communicating with your spouse. This means being willing to hear what the other person has to say without immediately getting defensive. When you automatically get defensive, it tells the other person there’s a need for them to be defensive, too.
This is because we have mirror neurons that cause us to naturally match the other person’s demeanor.2It’s a natural survival mechanism. Yet, in an open-dialogue conversation, this survival mechanism can cause a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunication.
Being open-minded and nonjudgement means focusing on understanding where the other person is coming from so that you can find common ground.
3) Understanding the “I” Position
You’ve probably heard of “I” statements. They became a really popular way to express how you feel and many people use them. They started as a call to express one’s thoughts and feelings with honesty, clarity, and humility. Using them can be ineffective when they’re used as a complaint about your spouse or their behavior.
Let’s take a look at ways expressing yourself can be ineffective.
Examples of blaming language:
- “You always dismiss my feelings”
- “You always say I’m complaining”
- “You’re the one who…”
- “If you would have…”
Blaming language is ineffective because it doesn’t express your thoughts and feelings with clarity and humility (and the other person becomes defensive!).
Examples of I statements that are ineffective (because they are veiled complaints and criticisms):
- “I always feel misunderstood”
- “I never feel validated”
- “I don’t feel like I’m ever being heard”
Effective communication can come in the form of the “I position statement.” Here are some examples of effective communication with I position statements:
- “I’m not really holding up my end here. Instead of expressing my anger honestly, I’ve been critical of you.”
- “I’ve just realized just how checked out I’ve been. That can’t be easy for you.”
- “I think the route we’re taking with the kids isn’t working. I think we need to set more limits. What do you think?”
Understanding the “I” position means understanding yourself. Understanding yourself and the part you play in your relationship dynamic allows both of you to feel heard and respected while communicating your needs and emotions. This also keeps you focused on solutions.1
Otherwise, it’s easy to dwell on past mistakes, which keeps the focus on conflict and negativity instead of resolution, positive growth, and better communication.
4) Practice Active Listening
Active listening involves paying attention verbally, emotionally, and physically. This means taking note of body language cues such as facial expressions and demeanor. This can give you insight into how your spouse might be feeling even if they don’t explicitly express it out loud.
To practice active listening:
- Repeat back what was said before responding
- Ask follow-up questions
- Provide feedback based on observations made during the conversation
- Keep an open demeanor
Practicing active listening improves communication in your marriage because the other person feels heard and valued. This paves the way toward a healthier marriage and better relationships with everyone in your family.
5) Try Neurofeedback
Fortunately, science has provided us with a tool to help us feel more calm, relaxed, and open to conversation.
Maybe your past experiences and trauma are just too heavy and you’re caught in a negative communication loop that you can’t correct on your own.
Or maybe you experience anxiety, health problems, or insomnia which makes communicating with your spouse even more difficult.
NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is an effective tool for helping couples improve communication and strengthen their relationship.
Neurofeedback works by providing feedback on the brain’s electrical activity. During times of turbulence, it brings you back to the present moment. This helps you become more aware, resilient, and flexible. Over time you become more mindful and can identify triggers that lead to negative communication patterns.
Through this process, you can learn how best to respond during difficult conversations and develop healthier ways of communicating with each other – without getting overwhelmed.
When you improve communication in your marriage, everyone in your family benefits.
Why NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback?
NeurOptimal® is an advanced brain training system designed to detect differences and potential problems and then, solve these problems. As a brain training program, NeurOptimal® monitors the brain’s activity, detects turbulence, and then prompts the brain to self-correct.
How does this work? You’ll have sensors attached to your head and ears, these sensors are there to monitor your brain waves for sudden changes. It’s important to note that there is never any electrical activity going into your brain.
When the equipment detects turbulence or sudden changes it will prompt your brain to self-correct. This self-correction comes in the form of a brief pause while you’re listening to music or watching a movie. This brings you back to the present moment.
With neurofeedback training, you’ll become resilient and flexible with problems solving. Communication will improve in your marriage when you’re able to have conversations feeling more calm and relaxed.
Neurofeedback can also…..
- Help you feel relaxed
- Help you stay calm in uncertainty
- Promotes a better night’s sleep
- Slow down before reacting
- Promote mental and emotional resilience
As a marriage counselor, I’ve seen couples make 6 months to a year’s worth of progress in just one month with neurofeedback training. Neurofeedback provides married couples with the tools necessary to create lasting change in their home and family dynamic.
If you’re ready to improve communication in your marriage, fill out our contact form today to get started.
We’re here to answer all your questions about neurofeedback and see if this is the right fit for you!