Thoughts To Live By…

10 Ways To Make Your Communication More Effective

Posted on: January 23, 2009

This is a checklist that every married couple should keep taped to their refrigerator or their computer or their bathroom mirror – wherever they may see it every single day. If you know someone who is going to be married, include it in a note or a card to them. I try to look at this list as often as I can – because it helps and it serves as a healthy reminder to make better choices and to be more effective when I communicate with my spouse.

  1. Don’t Be Judgemental – You need to avoid words and phrases that attack your spouse and speculate on their flaws real or imagined. (i.e. You are so selfish – you are so stupid sometimes – look at you, you can’t even have a conversation without acting like you are five – oh, poor you – wah wah wah)
  2. Skip the Labels – Don’t slap a label on your spouse – calling them a jerk or any other four or five letter word is an attack on them and not on what they said, did or requested
  3. Use I communication – We’ve talked about this before, don’t use the word You when you are talking about a problem – instead talk about I (i.e. I feel overwhelmed or I am being pulled in too many directions, I need help)
  4. Skip the History Lesson – You don’t need to drag up every incident that ever happened in the last five years of your relationship – it’s important to be constructive and not destructive (i.e. We had this conversation every month for the last 12 months, you never listen – instead try: We have tried to resolve this before, can you help me think of ways we can avoid having this same argument next month?)
  5. Eliminate the Negative – We are none of us perfect, constantly reminding your spouse of their flaws is not going to help them in any way – in fact, it’s more likely to do harm than good (i.e. You are hopeless! Instead try: how can I help to make this work better for both of us?)
  6. Use description, not attacks – You want to communicate what is happening to you and how you feel – not emote and scream at them so they have to guess (i.e. You always do this to me! – instead try: Yes, I am angry and I am frustrated. I need your help.)
  7. Don’t bottle up your body language – When was the last time you wanted to talk to someone who had their arms folded or their back to you with their shoulders bunched up – we communicate nonverbally extremely well and we can see when people are not wanting to listen much less hear us, try to relax your shoulders and keep your arms down, look at them and not away – take deep cleansing breaths if you need to
  8. Don’t Caption Your Message – Say what you mean and say what you feel – tell them the whole of it and not just the highlights. You aren’t delivering the top ten reasons why you are unhappy in pithy commentary, you want to use all forms of communication to express yourself – whether you are conveying positive or negative messages
  9. Don’t Threaten – Threats put someone in a corner – they demand acquiescence and promise consequences – too many people will do exactly the opposite because they don’t want to be threatened and a marriage needs cooperation and not intimidation; persistant use of threats will damage and could destroy a relationship
  10. You are No a Mind Reader – Avoid assumptions, you are not a mind reader and neither is your spouse – their silence may indicate they are listening to you intently and not ignoring you; ask and be clear in your statements – remember what they say about assuming

These ten tips can help you avoid arguments due to miscommunication and can provide you with tools to repair miscommunication that will occur. Understand, you and your spouse are going to disagree. You are going to misunderstand sometimes and there will be fights. The more effectively you communicate with each other – the more likely you will be able to resolve differences and keep the channels of communication open.

Article: Heather Long


2 Responses to "10 Ways To Make Your Communication More Effective"

Yeh thanks! I bet you’re gonna go and marry her now aren’t you? Well Good Luck! Everyone get’s what they want and deserve at the end, that’s what I believe.

I don’t know why men can’t communicate properly (honestly) these days, it’s like the only way they can communicate is in an animalistic way, then your acknowledged by them.

Well if you can’t attack them by actions like they do, then words are the only other way!

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