•Never make assumptions. If you aren’t certain about something talk about it with your spouse. Assumptions break down communication in a destructive way. You may or may not be right. So ask when you don’t know.
•Don’t just talk about serious things. Enjoy lighthearted conversations as well. Growing your friendship makes it easier to talk about more important issues.
•Talk about what God is doing in your life. I have found that many couples experience difficulty discussing spiritual matters. Prayer and reading together are a good way to open up the spiritual lines of communication.
•LISTEN! So often we are concerned about being heard. Are you really hearing what your spouse is trying to communicate, or are you too preoccupied with your own agenda?
•Ask for clarification. “This is what I am hearing you say. Do I understand you correctly?”
•Don’t sweep problems under the rug. Talk about it, even if it is uncomfortable.
•If an important discussion gets heated or difficult, take a break. Sometimes we need a time out to calm down and be able to look at the situation objectively. Make sure to come back and resolve the issue if it warrants it (sometimes a break lets you realize the whole conversation was silly). A mistake couples often make when they take a time out is failing to come back and resolve the issue.
•Don’t collect mistakes. Whenever your spouse is doing something that bothers you talk about it within a reasonable time frame. Don’t keep adding up everything they do, and one day bing them all in at once by informing your spouse of 34 things they are doing that grate on your nerves. Stay in the here and now.
•Don’t mind read or expect your spouse to read your mind. You spouse cannot be expected to know what you want unless you tell them. They cannot fix behaviors unless you let them know there is a problem.
•Don’t serve your spouse food on a garbage can lid. meaning When you approach your spouse with a problem or something that needs to be changed present the information in a positive way, not on a garbage can lid. Presentation counts for a lot. How appetizing is it if you have your favorite meal prepared and then it is served to you on a germ corvered garbage can lid? you come at your spouse blaming or condemning the conversation will probably not go well. Instead, approach them out of love and respect.
•Talk to your spouse the way you would like to be talked to. Call it the golden rule of communication…..
•Understand that communicating isn’t about being right. Sometimes it is good to ask ourselves, “Do we want to be right or do we want to be married?” Talk to fix, address, and change, not to win.
•Don’t just communicate about the bad. It is nice to be affirmed and told what you are doing right once and again too!
Everybody should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. –James 1:19
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