Keys to a Happy Marriage: Communication

Keys to a Happy Marriage | kristinsveranda.com/vignettes

The Mr. and I have been married a long time. Longer than you’d probably guess. And one thing that we have found over these wonderful married years, is that communication is key. As trite as that may sound, hear me out as I share a few scattered thoughts on the subject:

We have seen so many of our married friends find their relationships on shaky ground (and ours has had its share of teetering on the edge of a precipice too), and often, it can be traced back to unhealthy communication habits. Not necessarily lack of communication, but lack of skilled communication. – It’s not rocket science, but chances are, it will take some re-wiring of our natural tendencies.

Not many of us marry our twin. Often the way we tick is very different from the way our spouse ticks. We may love to discuss important things the minute we walk in the door from work, while our spouse is still debriefing from the day. Our spouse may prefer to discuss important things first thing in the morning, when we are barely awake yet! – We all have our preferences. But we can all find compromise. Love is worth it.

Our compromise has been establishing a weekly date night, and guarding it with our lives. We don’t always go out, but we do always set aside uninterrupted time to connect and talk over what’s going on in our lives. Phones off. TV off. Undivided attention. –

Somehow, anticipating this time, we both can coach ourselves into being in the right frame of mind to communicate openly. Neither of us are caught of guard. We’re both coming to the table (so to speak) ready to talk. And that can make all the difference.

“Ambush discussions” usually end badly. In fact, they usually start badly too! One party is pushed to the breaking point over some issue or another, and emotions lash out. – But this week, why not try to save that issue for the time that you both have set aside specifically for heart-to-heart connection? I promise you, it will be much easier to talk through when the heat-of-the-moment emotions are yesterdays news.

And one last word: don’t be afraid to say exactly what you’re thinking and feeling (with grace and humility of course). Your spouse needs to know what’s going on inside of you. They cannot read your mind. They need to know what hurt you. They need to know what disappointed you. They need to know what is important to you. They need to know what brings you joy! *And side note: they need to know what you love about them, and what they do right too!!!*

Unvoiced expectations, and unvoiced appreciation are a recipe for disaster.

So don’t be afraid to share your heart. And when your love shares their heart with you, love them enough to respond. Make their priorities, your priorities. Because that’s what love does. Thinks of another above itself.

Here’s to a week of great communication! Have you learned any helpful tips for communication over the years? Share them with us in the comment section…

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14 thoughts on “Keys to a Happy Marriage: Communication

  1. Love the idea of a reserved date night — even if it doesn’t entail going out. My fiance and I are pretty good about talking over dinner with the TV down low (not off! I will work on that!), and that’s typically our time to communicate.

    With planning a wedding right now, I’m trying to be super-conscious of not going “all wedding, all the time” after we’ve both had long days at work. I try to limit our wedding-based conversations, and I know he does the same. While we’re both really excited, it’s important to communicate about other things, too . . . and I try to be aware of when we’re both super stressed and tense conversations — often about finances! — will just lead to ugly times. So far, so good!

    • Sounds like you guys are really smart, intentional communicators Meg! What a great way to begin a marriage. I know what you mean about certain life circumstances easily monopolizing your conversations …be it a wedding, or family issues, or money issues, you’re so right – it is important to stay balanced, and keep those other big things within their healthy bounds.- Thanks for leaving your thoughts on this…I sure enjoyed reading them!

  2. These are such great points. It’s lovely to see a couple that truly sets aside time for each other. Most people seem to get caught up in social outings. It’s as if they consider social gatherings to be “together time” since they are there together. Obviously, that is not the same, because their attention is divided amongst so many others. Wise words, Kristin.

    Also, I love that photo of you two!

    • Thanks girl :-)! You’re right – it’s easy to think that because we’re in the same room, we’re having “quality time”, isn’t it? Certainly takes some real intentionality to make those true connecting time happen…but it’s so worth it, isn’t it?

  3. Great post Kristen, and also congratulations. I’m not married (and probably far from it) but have been dating my current girlfriend for almost 7 months and we’ve been doing the long distance thing for probably a 6 out of those seven months (a week here and there to visit). I can’t stress it enough how right you are about how important communication is. We promised each other before I left for school that there would be 100% honesty 100% of the time, and that communication helps to facilitate it. It gets things out on the table instead of letting it fester and worsen, and being long distance means that any time spent being mad at each other or not talking to each other can really hurt the relationship. We’ve had our share of disagreements and even some minor fights, but talking often and mentioning anything bothering either one of us helps us stay stronger, and grow closer as a couple.

    • What a wonderful policy you and your girlfriend have! It will serve you very well.- Although a long-distance relationship is haaaaard (we were long distance for about 12months before we were married), we are both so thankful to have experienced it. I think it really helped to develop and refine our communication into what it is today. – Blessing in disguise!

  4. Very true. I surely didn’t marry my twin (our personality types are very different), but as you grow together, communication is learned.

    We have an unofficial date night every Friday. We usually go out, but that’s when I save all my important conversation topics and so does he since we are both typically busy during the week and would rather spend our free time watching Dexter. This also gives us time to really think about what we want to say about a topic that is going on in our marriage (right now its finances and buying a house) and it always seems to work out well. Nonverbal communication clues are important as well — seeing it was a bad day in his mannerisms means me trying to control my nagging about him throwing his dirty clothes next to the hamper 🙂

    • Sounds like you have a good “system” in place Maria! I love that you brought up the importance of reading nonverbal cues…you’re so right – I think often we just charge ahead with our own agenda to say what we want to say when we want to say it, not reading all the caution signs that could safely lead us away from a full-blown argument. Timing is everything, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject…

  5. Great post! Date night is so important! We try to have one mid-week every week but sometimes we are so busy it gets pushed to Friday night, which is already a date night 99% of the time, and we always feel cheated when that happens.
    And people say it time and time again… communication is KEY! It really is!

    • Agreed!!! That’s so great that you have date nights every week T! Aren’t they so great? Really helps keep us on the same page, and when we miss one…we really feel it! Guess that’s a good sign :-). Keep the conversation flowin’…

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