How many times do you walk away from an argument with your spouse and think, "He had no clue what I was saying" or "She didn't really listen to me".
If you are like 90 percent of other couples - probably a lot!
It can be really difficult to truly communicate with your spouse (or anyone for that matter). Often, we think that we are being very clear - but in reality, our message is jumbled.
The trick to truly feeling heard and understood in your marriage is two-fold:
Knowing and understanding your OWN needs and wants
Making sure to be very clear about those needs and wants
Most of us have a very hard time with the first part. But, let me ask you a question: If you are not sure of what you want or need - then how do you expect your spouse to understand?
Let me give you an example:
A past client of mine was very upset that her husband continued to come home late from work. She told me that she would constantly make remarks to her husband and let him know that it was upsetting to her. But when I asked her exactly what she would say - it looked like this:
Rolling of eyes when he came home late
"I see you are home late again - work must be pretty important to you" (sarcasm)
"Why do you continue to chose work?" (met with defensiveness)
She was NOT being clear. Her husband was just taking this remarks as nagging - rather than a true statement or need. After working with her - she was able to understand that when her husband came home late it made her feel like she was not important and that her husband did not want to spend time with her.
Taking this one step further - she knew that she needed her husband to come home from work earlier 1 or 2 days a week, so they could have more quality time.
So - now that she was clear on her own feelings, needs and wants, she had a different conversation with her husband:
"I know that you are working so hard to provide for our family, but I feel lonely and sad because I miss spending time with you. I would feel so much closer to you if you could make an effort to be home on time one or two days a week - so we could spend quality time together"
Now that she truly understood her own feelings, wants and needs - she could clearly articulate those to her husband. And instead of being met with defensiveness - she was met her understanding and empathy.
When you speak with your feelings, emotions and needs without blaming the other - you will be heard and understood.
I know it's not natural - but after you start practicing it more - it will be!
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, please share with one person you think this will help today!
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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.