Practicing Good Communication in Marriage
We’ve discovered that talking about good communication is often easier than practicing it. Too often, we understand what to do, but we’re distracted, feeling stressed out, or simply forget what to do, so we don’t do it. Even the experts sometimes have difficulty following their own advice!
After years of trying to practice healthy communication, we’ve found that it’s helpful to use a cheat sheet. A little note on your smartphone can contain three or four basic communication reminders to keep you on track. When you find your conversation breaking down, quickly looking at such a note will tell you what you need to do to correct the problem.
Micro-communication skills can also help. If you’ve ever taken golf lessons, you know that the instructor begins by having you focus on one skill at a time. The first lesson may be solely on how you hold the club.
You’ll hit dozens of balls while focusing only on your grip. Next, the position of your feet is the focal point, then your shoulders, and so on.
The same is true of learning good communication. Try focusing on one skill at a time. In your next conversation with each other, be empathetic. Use your head and your heart to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Don’t worry about any other of the important skills. By limiting yourself in this way, you’ll better put into practice all of what you need to communicate well — one skill at a time.
If you continue to experience frustration with not being able to practice what you know to do, seek some coaching with your marriage mentors. An objective third party can often help you see your blind spots and transcend them.
by Les & Leslie Parrott
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