Fight Less & Connect More Part I: Foundations Of Communication In Your Marriage

Ah, communication!  The topic of every conversation. 

Developing great communication skills in your marriage (and really in life) may be the key to your marital satisfaction!  If you feel that the communication in your marriage could use some help, you are not alone.  In fact, 90 percent of couples state that communication is their #1 challenge. 

For this, I am so excited to present you with this four piece series about Fighting Less & Connecting More.  I am going to give you lots of free communication tools to use, so you can start fighting less in your marriage, start feeling understood more, and start connecting more!  

In the next four blogs, I am going to cover:

Part 1:  Foundations of communication:  Trust & Stay Calm

Part 2:  Listening vs. Hearing (HINT:  this may include a fun listening quiz for you!)

Part 3:  Communication Disasters (The What Not To Do)

Part 4:  How to Feed Heard, Understood and Meet Your Needs

I'm super excited about this series - so let's jump in!

The First Foundation = TRUST

The foundation of any marriage or relationship is TRUST! 

Trust is simple to explain, but hard to gain. <CLICK TO TWEET>

Trust extends far beyond infidelity.  In order to truly build a solid trust foundation - each partner in the relationship must always do what is in the best interest of their partner.

John Gottman, of the Gottman Institute, defines trust in terms of game logic.  In a relationship, you are always looking for a win-win situation.  If one person wins and the other person loses - you have a zero sum, which means your marriage loses. 

A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it as long as you want but it won't go anywhere. - Unknown

Honestly, there are no quick tricks or hacks for building trust in your marriage.  It takes time, especially if trust has previously been broken. 

My advice to you is to:  ALWAYS honor your word, always go for a win-win situation, and consider your partners feelings in every decision you make.
Resources: 5 Ways to Rebuild Trust , Getting Past Betrayal & Do You Have A Hard Time Trusting Others? Here's the Cure

The Second Foundation = Remaining Calm  

Couples who start conversations harshly, or quickly display high emotions - are more likely to find themselves separated or divorced.  Here are a couple of tips and tricks for staying calm during a tense conversation:

  1. Daily meditation/prayer/mindfulnessStarting, or continuing, a daily meditation or mindfulness practice can help you to relieve anxiety, manage stress and regulate emotions.  Not sure where to get started - click here to check out this awesome 10 minute marriage meditation!

  2. Be aware of your heart rate when in conversationIf you can feel your body physically starting to react, then it's time to take a break from the conversation.  Take a couple of deep breaths or call a "time-out".  Once your blood pressure goes up, your ears close and your mouth is wide open.

  3. Call a "Time-Out":  Come up with a signal that you or your partner can use to end a discussion when you see emotions rise.  This could be a secret word (Baboon), a hand signal (a nice one), or a simple statement ("can we take a time out").  Take 5-20 minutes to separate, do something to get your mind off the topic, and then come back only when calm.  Don't use this time to stew, get more mad, and decide what you will say next.

  4. Stay calm and talk on:  Couples that are able to speak about topics with lower amounts of emotion are the most likely to work through problems and come up with win-win solutions.

Remember these foundations:  Trust & Stay Calm when talking with your spouse (or children, boss, etc.) and I promise you will get further in your conversations and relationship.

ACTION CREATES CHANGE.  I would love to hear what action you are taking to create change, comment below and I’ll make sure to reply back to personally! Also, I would love if you would share with one other person that could use this inspiration today!

Valerie Kolick, therapist and relationship expert has created this blog to help couples and individuals create happiness and joy in their marriages and lives. If this is your first time here, LEARN MORE here and don’t forget to Download Your FREE Extraordinary Relationship Workbook.

CLICK HERE TO READ PART 2: Listening vs. Hearing