Communication has become such a buzz word over the past couple of years. There has been countless studies conducted on the integral part communication plays in our society. It has revolutionized our very existence. Yet, somehow we have all unlearned how to communicate clearly and effectively with those around, and often closest to, us.
Within the constraints of marriage, this is no different. We have come to a place where we are so busy during the day, that whenever we come home and have some free time, all we really want to do is relax. On Social Media. To most people this has become the most effective way to “relax” and “unwind”. So, what’s wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing. I’m just concerned with the fact that somehow it has become a substitute for communicating effectively with those closest to us. We tend to spend a lot of time “unwinding” while actually our minds are becoming more saturated with the lives of others, which often does not lead to “unwinding”. How can you find place in your mind to listen to the stories of your loved ones, when you are preoccupied with the lives and stories of others…often people whom you have never met.
Now, I do want to make it clear that I am in no way saying that you should not know what is happening in the world. Our social communication system has advanced to such an extent that it allows us to know and keep up to date with so many relevant and important things. I am merely suggesting that we plan and schedule the time we spend on social media, more effectively.
In a world where everything is becoming faster and faster, I see an increasing need for people to slow down and see the people around them. So let’s get to how clear communication enriches and saves your marriage:
The obvious trap
The most obvious “trap” (if you can call it that) regarding communication, within marriage, is that we assume that our husbands inherently know what we mean, think and need. Once we get married, we often think that something magical falls into place, and that our husbands will just automatically understand us – therefore, no reason to clearly spell out anything, right? Absolutely not.
Just because you are married now, does not mean that you just “get” the other person. Relationships take work…and being together a lot does not constitute work. You have to talk about things, clearly stipulate what you mean and think and need…
No two people are alike, think alike or process alike. Yet, somehow we expect our husbands, often unconsciously, to just understand and know how we think and process things. Do you understand how he processes and thinks about things?
The next thing that happens is that we get angry!
- Why doesn’t he just know to take out the trash?
- Why doesn’t he ever do the dishes?
- Why can’t he just help with the kids when he gets home? – I’ve also had a long day and still need to get a lot of work done by tomorrow!
The worst part is that after these thoughts, lies start to creep in. Maybe he just doesn’t care. Maybe I’m suppose to do all these chores and take care of the kids on my own. Maybe I’m just suppose to work all the time and never get a break. Maybe that’s what being married means. Maybe it’s just better to be on my own…
See how this down-spirals into a lot of potential problems? We end up believing that it might have been a mistake to get married in the first place. (More about this in my article on “10 Lies we believe about a healthy Marriage”)
So what’s the solution?
Talk about what you need. You’re not being too much or needy or weak, you’re building a strong, healthy marriage. Marriage is all about teamwork, inside and outside the house. You have to clearly communicate with your husband about what you need. How do you do that?
- Schedule time to talk about everything. I know that our schedules are so full, especially if you include your kids’ programs. BUT once a week or maybe once every second week, you have to set time aside to just talk about what has been happening in your own lives. I’m not referring to talking about scheduling appointments…I’m referring to talking about life. This does not have to be a specific outing or expensive dinners, this is just scheduling time to sit on the couch, look each other in the eye, and talk.
- Go on dates. Make arrangements for a babysitter. Book a place at a restaurant. And just talk. No phones, no distractions. I once heard someone say that they had one rule when they went to a restaurant – whoever picks up their phone first, pays the bill 🙂 I think that’s a great idea.
- Learn how to be vulnerable about your emotions. This might take time, but you have to learn how to share your opinion about things, with your husband. And more importantly, share your dreams…
In the end, I can honestly say that I believe that clear, concise conversation is the key to a lasting marriage. Why? Because I honestly think that one of the most important things to a lasting marriage is that you understand each other better. The only way you can do this, is if you know and discover more and more about who the person you married, is. And this happens when you spend time together and really talk. When you know someone more, you are able to love them more [and hate them more, but hopefully you did not marry someone you didn’t even like to begin with :)]
I know that all of our lives look different. So, please share any tips you have that can help us to communicate better with our husbands.