I’m amazed at how much I’m still learning about communicating my wife, Susan. Just when I think I’ve finally got it, I mess up and realize I still have a long way to go as a husband. But after 25 years with my awesome bride, I have learned a thing or two about how best to communicate with her. And while I still haven’t mastered all of these things, I’d like to share with you what I’m working to be better at. Maybe you can related to some of these.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned about communicating with my wife:
1. Communicate Gently.
I’m an attorney by background (a recovering attorney, that is), so communicating with me is not always the easiest thing. Sometimes my wife Susan even feels like she’s on the witness stand being interrogated. So over the years, I’ve learned how much I need to pull back and speak with gentleness to her—not with attack intensity.
2. Communicate with an Open Mind.
More often than not, I go into conversations with Susan with my mind already made up. My strong opinion on a matter makes me cut her short sometimes because I’m convinced that nothing she says will change my thoughts. Since recognizing this habit, I’ve been striving to communicate with an open mind—to really listen to what she has to say, without interrupting. I sincerely desire to hear Susan’s thoughts and ideas, even if they are different from mine.
3. Communicate with Daylight.
After living with someone for a long enough time, you begin to learn things about them—like their habits or their pet peeves. You also learn how to tell if they’re in a good or a bad mood. With Susan, I’ve found that mornings are when she’s most cheerful and alert, while evenings are when she is drained and tired from a long day of work. Because of this, I’ve learned that the best communication with Susan happens early in the day. Everyone is different, so it’s important to find when the best timing is for you and your spouse to communicate about serious topics.
4. Communicate with Compliments.
Early on in my marriage, criticizing Susan was something I did all too often. I had so many expectations for her to be the perfect wife and mother that I sometimes was only able to see her faults, not her successes. I had to learn that the tongue is The Wildest Part of Your Body and then How to Increase Your Compliment to Criticism Ratio by considering how best to compliment my wife on a daily basis.
5. Communicate with a Listening Ear.
As a husband, when Susan shares a problem or challenge she’s having, I usually view it as something I need to solve. While this can be helpful sometimes, it can be harmful when your wife just needs someone to listen to her. In these moments when my wife is upset, I’ve learned to shut off the side of my brain that is immediately searching for a solution in order to simply sympathize with her and be there for her.
What are some things you’ve learned about communicating with your spouse over the years? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.