A loving marriage is built on trust, and trust is the result of openness and honesty. Keeping the lines of communication open is one of the best ways to express your love and has the added benefit of letting the other know how you feel, what you want and need, and how you’d like things to be.
Openness is what defines healthy and loving relationships.
To that end, TalkPoints are easy-to-use, guided conversations that encourage open communication. Our approach to premarital coaching is to make it very easy to have meaningful conversations so that engaged couples can voice their fears, concerns, and questions as they prepare for marriage. Here are a few tips for improving pre-marital communication:
Listen first, tell your viewpoint later. Obviously, you are not the most important person in your relationship. A marriage is a partnership of two equals where both partners have a say in decision-making. You will want to make sure that you focus on understanding more, rather than insisting that you are being understood.
Try the two question rule the next time you’re tempted to be defensive or say something hurtful:
- Listen, first, to what your significant other wants or needs to say to you.
- As you listen, think of a question that will further clarify what they are trying to express.
- Ask it, then as you listen to their response, try to think of a second question that will help you understand what is being said.
Try to think from your partner’s perspective. Putting yourself in their “shoes” will help you be much more effective in the way you communicate.
Encourage your partner. Too often, couples focus on the few negative things about their partner rather than all that is positive. So next time your future spouse does or says something you appreciate, be sure to tell them. Develop the habit of affirmation, rather than criticism. We all grow much more naturally when we feel that we are appreciated and loved.
Don’t battle. A marriage isn’t a fight to see who wins and who loses. The WE is much more important than the ME. Look to solve arguments constructively as two partners looking for the best solution or outcome. Compromise whenever possible. You’re not inthis alone. Try to stay away from this thinking: “What will be best for me?” And move more and more to this pattern of thought, “What will be best for the two of us?”
Clear it up. One of the biggest things to avoid in marital communication is being vague, or holding back and not telling the whole truth. This pattern will only worsen your conversations. If you don’t understand how your partner feels, ask. And after you ask, listen carefully. Take time to know what your partner is thinking and feeling before coming to a conclusion or trying to work out a solution.
Make time to talk. If a successful marriage requires good communication then you owe it to each other to find the time to talk to each other regularly. Dedicate a time daily to catch up, and at least a once-weekly couch date to have some “we” time together. And when you do, hold hands, look in each other’s eyes, and communicate. It’s actually a lot of fun and leads to greater intimacy.
And be sure to put the phones (and other distractions) away when you talk—your partner is more important.
We cannot stress how important these tips are as you prepare for marriage and the years ahead. Good communication is the key to good marriages and helps you to live the vows of love you will profess to each other on your wedding day and in your lifetime of marriage. Know that we here at TalkPoints are here to help. Take a step in the direction of a stronger, more vibrant and enjoyable marriage by contacting us today!