Strong marriages rest on solid foundations.
That foundation? Communication.
I think that everyone already kinda knew that, at least deep down they did.
So to begin, let’s get one thing clear. Communication isn’t simply talking.
Communication is about connecting, understanding, supporting, and vulnerability.
Because of this confusion on what true communication is, many people engage in troublesome patterns when trying to express their pain and frustrations to their spouse.
There are three big communication mistakes that are ruining your marriage.
The Three Communication Mistakes That Are Preventing You From Communicating Clearly and Effectively
(1) Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want)
You obviously saw that one coming.
Ok, but seriously. This is one of the biggest problems couples have, which is kinda crazy.
I mean, you don’t go to a restaurant and expect the waiter to guess what you like.
So why leave your marriage and happiness up to chance?
Frequently, we don’t specify our expectations or what’s actually bothering us.
It’s not that you hate ESPN, you just don’t like that it takes up his entire Sunday afternoon (which is one of the only days you both get time away from work).
And that old, tattered shirt he wears isn’t that bad, but when he wears it to an outing with friends you can literally hear him saying “I don’t care how we look, I don’t care about these relationships, I don’t want to be here.”
For effective and clear communication in marriages, you have to get to the root. So that means you have to get laser focused on what it is that you want and expect from your mans.
Generalizations won’t cut it if you want to really get the point across and see change in your marriage.
Our advice? Unpack your anger, kinda like what we did above.
You’re not angry at Sunday-night football, you’re frustrated with the lack of quality time.
Without clear direction from the captain (you), he’ll never know in what direction to sail the ship. Even if it seems really freaking obvious to you.
(2) Double Messaging
This is not to be confused with double texting.
Double messaging is something most people are guilty of. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar:
Your husband has done something to annoy you or frustrate you. He asks what’s wrong and you tell him “I’m fine.” But it’s coupled with either an eye roll, crossed arms, a huff and/or puff.
That is double messaging.
It’s when you say one thing but your body language is telling him a whole different story.
And the more you do this, more you confuse your man. So the next time you say “I’m fine” (and maybe things really are fine this time), he’s not going to believe you.
And it’s because double messaging is basically lying.
Stop trying to brush things to the side or hope that he’ll just figure it out and somehow also figure out how to make everything better.
Spoiler alert: that’s not what’s going to happen.
So instead of training him to always be on edge when he hears those words, say what you mean to say.
If he has hurt you, let him know. When you feel wronged, annoyed, or sad, don’t further confuse the situation with slamming cabinets and a fake smile.
That’s only going to make the household tense and him scared that he’s walking into some kind of trap (which he is!)
Create a space that’s conducive to communication, not confusion.
(3) Attack The Problem, Not Your Spouse
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “it’s you and your spouse versus the problem, not you versus your spouse.”
Well, same idea here.
Separate your husband from the actual act that you’re upset about.
Dirty socks are left around the house, not in the hamper?
Don’t attack your husband with things like:
You’re a slob. You don’t care about anything. You’re a slacker.
Attacking them as a person, as opposed to explaining how you feel about the situation, will only cause them to respond in a defensive way.
And often times, someone that feels like they’re being backed into a corner will just lash out. It’s a common defense tactic.
So if you find that you’re doing any of these things, do your best to cut it out ASAP. Communication is the bedrock of a successful and happy marriage.