Everything starts out wonderful. In the early days of marriage or the ‘honeymoon period’, you’re relationship feels like it could never fail. But then kids, stress, and distractions crash the party. You might not notice at first, but cracks begin to appear in your relationship. Before you know it, your marriage is on the rocks. Your healthy marriage is in trouble. What went wrong?
Healthy Marriages Need Communication
Well, did you know that poor communication has been cited as the number one reason for divorce? But poor communication doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of communication. Sometimes it’s the wrong type. In fact, men and women have different concerns when it comes to talking. Men detest being nagged, while women feel their concerns and feelings aren’t heard. Does that sound familiar?
Communication can fall apart in a relationship. Some people find it really hard to have constructive arguments or to deal with conflict. But it’s really important to learn to get things out in the open, in a healthy way. If your partner is met by a brick wall of silence whenever they try to talk to you, they will get frustrated pretty quickly. This can lead to distance in the relationship, both emotional and physical, which can be hard to repair.
When the relationship is already under pressure, this can quickly lead to contempt. Contempt can breed criticism, verbal lashing out, and negativity. This, in turn, can lead to full-blown arguments, or a refusal to engage. It’s also really damaging for both parties self-esteem.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Reliable communication can improve or even rescue a relationship and can bring spouses closer than ever. But, as with most things, it’s a skill that’s acquired over time and with careful effort. We can all talk, but we can’t all communicate effectively. It takes practice.
Solving Communication Issues Leads to a Healthy Marriage
So if you’ve identified a problem with communication in your relationship, what can you do about it? Many couples turn to marriage counseling. This kind of therapy can help you to communicate better, end dead-end arguments, and teach you to have constructive disagreements where everyone wins. Some couples find this brings them closer together, too.
Sometimes the biggest problem for couples is constantly arguing and dragging up things from the past. An argument about not taking out the bin could suddenly turn into a heated discussion about why you never spend any time with their family. One of the best things you can do as a couple to improve your communication is to stay in the here and now. Make a conscious effort to stay focused on the issue at hand.
If an argument is getting out of hand, you might able to nip it in the bud by asking to cool off and talk about it in an hour or two. Some couples find it’s helpful to pre-agree a cool-off rule when they’re calm, so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to shut down a conversation in the heat of the moment.
Try to make time where the two of you can talk away from the stresses of everyday life. This is why date nights are so valuable. It helps if you set boundaries, like agreeing not to talk about work or what’s going on with the kids. Just quality time to listen to each other.
Feature image via Pexels.