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Old 02-09-2010, 06:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

My wife and I have come a long way with communication. We were really struggling trying to connect with each other. I thought that everything she said was wrapped into an accusations and complaints. Initially, I didn't want to express anything. I was very much able to internalize all of my feelings. But things don't work that way. I had to learn to express my feelings to her and she had to learn approach me respectfully and non-accusatory. I agree with one of the previous posters, sometimes you have to find alternate ways to communicate with your partner. My wife and I text each other throughout the day just to keep connected. It becomes our thing; our way of checking in with one another. We also have set aside time in the morning to touch bases and to get our day off to a good start. We aren't always great at communicating. Sometimes we really foul it up, but we continue to try to improve and know that it will only benefit us in the long-term.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

The other forum members have already given you great advice on how to communicate with your spouse. I'd like to add that sometimes you need to leave things unsaid. For example, if you think your husband is a total bore at parties, there's no need to tell him that.

And sometimes brutal honesty doesn't help, either. For example if you wife asks if she looks fat in her new dress (and you think she does) don't tell her that. Read beyond the question. What your wife really wants to hear is how beautiful and desirable she is, so tell her that and meet her emotional needs.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying you should lie, just temper the truth with kindness.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:58 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

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And sometimes brutal honesty doesn't help, either. For example if you wife asks if she looks fat in her new dress (and you think she does) don't tell her that. Read beyond the question. What your wife really wants to hear is how beautiful and desirable she is, so tell her that and meet her emotional needs.
I agree with this but would take it one step further. If the husband thinks the dress makes his wife look fat, he definitely shouldn't tell her that but he also shouldn't let her go out wearing it if it doesn't flatter her. What he should say is "honey, you know I think you're beautiful but I don't think this particular dress is quite doing you the justice you deserve. I reall love it when you wear such-and-such dress. It accents your beauty much better than this one."

Of course, most husbands wouldn't put it quite like that... but I think my point is clear.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

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Originally Posted by reesespieces View Post
I need to know, from people who are married successfully and a long time, how to communicate effectively.

Of course you're always going to hear that husbands don't listen to their wives and instead try to nitpick or solve everything. Then you hear from husbands that their wives don't listen to them because their wives starting asking them about their feelings.

I often hear a complaint that husbands are always placed with the burden of having to communicate like a wife without being able to communicate like a man, and yet a woman can keep communicating like a woman.

Considering these things, WHAT do you do?
Unfortunately, women tend to be the communicators in marriage. Men, not so much so.

Here's what I found that works:
  • You are responsible for your happiness; do not demand your spouse make you happy: work together as a couple.
  • Don't take things personally (even if they are).
  • Be as open, honest, transparent and vulnerable with each other as you can (no secrets).
  • Ask for what you need and express your emotions in a healthy manner.
  • Seek to resolve conflict appropriately; focus on what the other person is saying instead of blaming or neglecting to accept responsibility.
  • Remember that marriage is not a war zone and that you determine the level of peace in your marriage.
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Last edited by created4success; 05-06-2010 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

Open communication becomes a habit- you get used to it. Take baby steps in doing it with your partner and then later on, you'll realize that hiding even just a tiny bit from your partner would make you feel a little uncomfortable. I've had 10 years of a successful open communication with my partner. At first I started doing in writing, then we'd talk. Like I said it's a habit,it will come naturally as time goes by so as early as possible try to be open as much as you can.

Hope that helps.

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Old 05-07-2010, 04:05 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

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Originally Posted by lcalvin View Post
Open communication becomes a habit- you get used to it. Take baby steps in doing it with your partner and then later on, you'll realize that hiding even just a tiny bit from your partner would make you feel a little uncomfortable. I've had 10 years of a successful open communication with my partner. At first I started doing in writing, then we'd talk. Like I said it's a habit,it will come naturally as time goes by so as early as possible try to be open as much as you can.


I like this; especially the part about taking "baby steps" when it comes to communication. Without starting small and building on it (not trying to conquer the world of marriage communication in a day), it can be a lot of work, and honestly overwhelming.

As LC said, start small and you'll eventually see big results if you keep with it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:51 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

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Originally Posted by created4success View Post

I like this; especially the part about taking "baby steps" when it comes to communication. Without starting small and building on it (not trying to conquer the world of marriage communication in a day), it can be a lot of work, and honestly overwhelming.

As LC said, start small and you'll eventually see big results if you keep with it.
to both above me!

My wife and I are completely open with each other about everything. This is not an exaggeration, every thought, feeling, emotion we share it with each other. What we did at first to open up this kind of communication was what call the "time-out period". I know some people find it hard to believe and ask "there has got to be something you keep to yourself" and my God honest answer is no.

When spouse A wants to tell spouse B something they are not sure how they would respond to they will call a "time-out period". Spouse B would then have to agree to the time-out. After it's agreed on spouse A will tell spouse B what they wanted to tell them. Immediately after they are done spouse B CANNOT discuss the issue or their feelings on the issue for 1 hour. What this does is forces spouse B to think and process what spouse A said. Sometimes spouse B would normally react to spouse A's comments with anger immediately. But, being forced to think and process it, it sometimes allows them a clearer understanding of what was said.

We started this way and it naturally evolved from there. Now, it's second nature for the other spouse to hold their initial feelings and process it before responding. You would not believe how refreshing it is to be able to fully and utterly share everything you are and think with your spouse.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

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My wife and I are completely open with each other about everything. This is not an exaggeration, every thought, feeling, emotion we share it with each other. What we did at first to open up this kind of communication was what call the "time-out period".

We started this way and it naturally evolved from there. Now, it's second nature for the other spouse to hold their initial feelings and process it before responding. You would not believe how refreshing it is to be able to fully and utterly share everything you are and think with your spouse.
Crypsys: I love that "time out" thing, although I've never heard of it, it sounds like an invaluable communication tool for marriage. How exciting!

My wife and I try to use the more familiar, "I think I hear you saying... Is that correct." When I remember to use it as opposed to reacting, it goes well!
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:12 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

This is a great site on communication.

Communication In Marriage (Love & Dating: Married Life)
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:36 AM   #25 (permalink)
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How would you approach communication in a (long term problematic) relationship carried out over long distance? We do email but I touch type so think & type almost instantaneously & also gabble & put brackets etc plus (I'm doing it now!) tend to speak first think later.... maybe the subject of this thread too.... and he can just about two finger type so it's somewhat uneven. Plus he's extremely oversensitive and acknowledges that, so texting has had us in real strife.
The time out thing sounds a good idea. Might help cure my 'speak first think later' syndrome. I think partly it's that (women particularly?) I regard what I say as a work in progress - it's not necessarily the final version, I might refine. He takes everything as gospel because he thinks very clearly & says the final version first time out.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:06 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

My biggest problem with communicating with my husband - when he talks about most things, I daydream about other things. I'm not really listening to him and I don't know why I do that. He listens to me and engages in conversation about my topic but I just don't seem to do that with him all the time.

Why is that? Is it because I'm not that into him or what? We've been married 23 years. Thats his so called reason for having a 10 year EA with a fellow coworker. He said I "don't listen to him".
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:55 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

The book "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It" really helped shift my perspective a lot. My habit is still to want to talk, and keep talking, and that almost never ends well. I like the time-out idea too; either party has the right to say, respectfully, that they need to share something and don't want an immediate reaction, or alternately, that they don't want to talk at that particular time but will make a time to talk within the next day or two.

Also, in my experience, the most valuable words in conversation are "I'm sorry." It's truly amazing how powerful they can be (when said genuinely). I get instant relief when I hear them, and I think my husband does too.

All the best to you!
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:48 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Conflict Resolution Mistakes To Avoid


Conventional wisdom (and research) says that good communication can improve relationships dramatically, increasing intimacy, trust, respect and support. The converse is also true: poor communication can weaken bonds, creating mistrust. Here are some examples of negative and even destructive attitudes and communication patterns that can exacerbate conflict in a relationship. How many of these sound like something you have done?



Can you see how easy this is to turn around?



1. Avoiding Conflict Altogether:

Rather than discussing building frustrations in a calm, respectful manner, sometimes we just don’t say anything until we’re ready to explode, and then blurt it out in an angry way. This seems to be the less stressful route—avoiding an argument altogether—but usually causes more stress to both parties, as tensions rise, resentments fester, and a much bigger argument eventually results. It's much healthier to address and resolve conflicts as they arise.



2. Being Defensive:

Rather than addressing a partner’s complaints with an objective eye and willingness to understand the other person’s point of view, defensive people steadfastly deny any wrongdoing and work hard to avoid looking at themselves and the possibility that they could be contributing to a problem. Denying responsibility may seem to alleviate stress in the short run, but creates long-term problems when partners don’t feel listened to and unresolved conflicts and continue to grow.



3. Overgeneralizing:

When something happens that they don’t like, some blow it out of proportion by making sweeping generalizations. Avoid starting sentences with, “You always…” and “You never…”, as in, “You always come home late!” or “You never do what I want to do!” Stop and think about whether or not this is really true. Also, don’t bring up past conflicts to throw the discussion off-topic and stir up more negativity. This stands in the way of true conflict resolution, and increases the level of conflict.



4. Being Right:

It’s damaging to decide that there’s a ‘right’ way to look at things and a ‘wrong’ way to look at things, and that your way of seeing things is right. Don’t demand that your partner see things the same way, and don’t take it as a personal attack if they have a different opinion. Look for a compromise by finding the ‘right’ in both sides, and remember that there’s not always a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’, and that two points of view can both be valid and respected.



5. "Psychoanalyzing" / Mind-Reading:

Instead of asking about their partner’s thoughts and feelings, people sometimes decide that they ‘know’ what their partners are thinking and feeling based only on faulty interpretations of their actions—and always assume it’s negative! (For example, deciding a late mate doesn’t care enough to be on time, or that a tired partner is denying sex out of passive-aggressiveness.) This creates hostility and misunderstandings. As well, don’t think your partner IS a mind-reader. Be honest with what you need from them and ask if it is something they can do - and what can YOU do to help.



6. Forgetting to Listen:

This is a big one! Some people roll their eyes, over-exaggerate a sigh when they don’t like what they hear, interrupt, blow their partners concerns off and rehearse what they’re going to say next instead of truly listening and attempting to understand their partner. This keeps you from seeing their point of view, and keeps your partner from wanting to see yours! Don’t underestimate the importance of really listening and empathizing with the other person!



7. Playing the Blame Game:

Some people handle conflict by criticizing and blaming the other person for the situation. They see admitting any weakness on their own part as a weakening of their credibility, and avoid it at all costs, and even try to shame them for being ‘at fault’. Instead, try to view conflict as an opportunity to analyze the situation objectively, assess the needs of both parties and come up with a solution that helps you both.



8. Trying to ‘Win’ The Argument:

I love it when Dr. Phil says that if people are focused on ‘winning’ the argument, “the relationship loses”! The point of a relationship discussion should be mutual understanding and coming to an agreement or resolution that respects everyone’s needs. If you’re making a case for how wrong the other person is, discounting their feelings, and staying stuck in your point of view, your focused in the wrong direction!



9. Making Character Attacks:

Sometimes people take any negative action from a partner and blow it up into a personality flaw. (For example, if a husband leaves his socks lying around, looking it as a character flaw and label him ‘inconsiderate and lazy’, or, if a woman wants to discuss a problem with the relationship, labeling her ‘needy’, ‘controlling’ or ‘too demanding’.) This creates negative perceptions on both sides. It’s very important to remember to respect the person, even if you don’t like the behavior.



10. Stonewalling:

When one partner wants to discuss troubling issues, sometimes people defensively stonewall, or refuse to talk or listen to their partner. This shows disrespect and, in certain situations, even contempt, while at the same time letting the underlying conflict grow. Stonewalling solves nothing and leaves the other partner unsure of what to do. It’s much better to listen and discuss things in a respectful manner.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:15 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

I think the greatest piece of advice for communication that I have ever found and used, is this: "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." If you will take an hour to seriously meditate on that simple formula you will come away with a lot of powerful and transforming communication skills...
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:55 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to communicate effectively-- need advice

The best thing we did was the Success Through Communication Course at the Church of Scinetology. You can do this course without becoming a member. They even have free online classes at Scientology.org. Skip the hype, we went there with an open mind and we learned so much. It truly salvaged our marriage.
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