Lack of communication is listed as one of the main causes for an unhappy marriage and even divorce. That’s really not surprising. When you were a baby and weren’t able to communicate, what did you do? You cried and threw a tantrum until somebody figured out what your needs were. Now that you’re grown up that won’t work although it’s tried in some form by many spouses.
Good communication takes practice. Remember, you’re communicating even though you may not be talking. Your body language and actions can speak volumes about what you like and dislike. Facial expressions say a lot too. Do you still smile at your spouse?
Some spouses are afraid to smile or be too nice for fear of being asked to do something they don’t want to do.
If that’s your attitude, maybe it’s time to talk. If you’re not happy with your relationship be honest about it and seek a solution. Solutions usually begin at the bargaining table where both parties are willing to negotiate and come up with a solution both can live with.
Find a good and convenient time to communicate. If either of you has a pressing project that needs to be completed or an upcoming appointment, then agree to a more convenient time. At least you’ve made the effort and the cards are on the table. Don’t trap your spouse in a situation where they must listen such as driving to visit the in laws. You may not be in a good mood when you arrive if this happens.
Be tactful in suggesting a talk is necessary. Don’t be demanding but suggest you’d like to visit a while about such and such as soon as they have time. This gives both of you time to organize your thoughts. It’s not good to come to the table unprepared. Know what you’re unhappy with and how you’d suggest the problem be solved.
Once you’re talking, be a good listener. Listening is as important as talking. If your spouse is not as good at communicating as you then compensate. Repeat what they’ve said by commenting something like “Here’s what I think you’re trying to say.” Don’t talk down to your spouse and make them feel inadequate. Both opinions are equally important.
Don’t have distractions when talking like the radio or TV and certainly not when the kids are present. Bringing up a problem during dinner is not appropriate. That would qualify as trapping your partner and problem ruin both your appetites. Your attention must be undivided and you must make eye contact. Allow enough time for a complete discussion.
Strive for a solution but if one is not reached, reschedule a time to continue. Don’t give up. Remember there’s another world besides yours and you must exist in both. Compromise is always a good choice. If you’re wrong, take responsibility and change. If no solution is apparent, professional help may be needed. Communication will not solve all your problems but it’s a good beginning.