Marriage advice Improve Communication, stop fighting, fall in love again, Save our marriage
Marriage advice Improve Communication
Just because you’re struggling in your marriage doesn’t mean you give up on it. Phoebe Hutchison tells you how you can bring back the spark in your relationship
- Identify the issues
- Set goals
- Implement strategies
Relationship issues can quickly become complicated, causing frustration through lack of insight. Many couples try, but feel as though they can’t ‘fix’ the relationship so they emotionally disconnect or, in some cases, separate. This crisis time, however, is ideal for a thorough assessment. If you need help, here’s how to put your relationship under the spotlight.
1 Identify the issues in your marriage:
2 Set goals:
3 Implement strategies:
The 30 minute rule
Treat your partner like a lover—not a spouse
Stop finding fault and start praising
Manage conflict better
Calm Down: Don’t have discussions when you are feeling infuriated and your blood is boiling. Wait until you cool down and schedule a meeting.
Before Sleep: Have this meeting before you go to sleep [as sleeping with inflamed emotions will only aggravate the situation].
No Distractions: Conduct this meeting in a quiet place with no distractions. You may use a writing pad as you both take turns in speaking and listening.
Compliment at Start /End: Use the ‘Positive Sandwich Technique’, first, befire you start. Ie. Open and end the conversation, with a nice compliment. This is usually conducted by the person who initiates the conversation / ‘mini meeting’.
Use ‘I’ statements: Discuss the issues in a direct manner. Use assertiveness techniques, by stating needs, wants and feelings from the “I” stance, such as: “I need…” “I want…” or “I feel…” Do not blame your spouse. For example, instead of saying: “You make me feel lonely” or “You’re always working,” you could say, “I feel lonely” or “I need quality time with you.” In family therapy, direct communication is the most effective… so become direct.
Take Turns: Use a business card, tea coaster, or small token to indicate that ONE person talks at a time, then take turns holding this, passing to your partner, to ensure listening skills are at your best. The person with the ‘token’ has the opportunity to speak, while the other listens.
Remain Calm: Keep the feeling neutral. Do not yell, swear, storm out or become aggressive. Only argue when calm, to avoid nasty words / aggression you may later regret.
The Aim: To have a win/win, but you may settle for compromise. Not all conversations/mini meetings will end with win/win. This is your chance for collaboration. First points are mentioned, then either party discusses their opinion, then a new goal is achieved after much brainstorming.
You may need a little extra help assessing your relationship from either a self-help book or a relationship counsellor, to help you identify areas for improvement, set your goals and learn new relationship strategies. Using simple strategies works best to keep your marriage growing. Transforming a relationship from unhappy to blissful is achieved one day at a time, one positive thought at a time, with one interaction at a time! Don’t give up on love. Relationships are hard work, but when you know what to work on, this ‘work’ will be a lot of fun!