Does talking to your husband/partner seem more like a monologue? Do you end up more frustrated than relieved after vomiting the details of your stressful day at work or the daily grind with those kids, aheem, your kids?
And, does it feel like hubby tries his best to listen but just can’t wait for your mouth to shut close?
You are human and so is your lovely hubby. Listening is a skill and we all have our days when our energies are zapped. When you only hear streams of noise and decoding what words mean seem more like an assault to your fried brains.
It doesn’t have to be.
I remembered my daughter telling me what she can build with her fort sticks every few seconds while I was trying to tidy up the kitchen and holding a baby with one arm. Initially, I would respond with intent, even stopping to celebrate in awe what she has created. After the 5th time, I sort of tuned her out and was on auto-response either with -”Wow, I like what you did or Great Job.”
This worked a couple of times until part of her creation broke, she kept telling me about it and I auto-responded with Wow! Finally, she had enough of this and sharply told me, “No, it’s not wow mommy,I broke my creation! You’re not listening.”
Yes, we all do it once in a while but I assure you on most days, we can all improve on our listening because babies were not born knowing this stuff, so it’s not too late for the rest of us. Your children will feel seen and and as wife/partner, you will truly feel like the significant other when your voice is taken with empathy and care.
The following suggestions take practice, especially if you initially don’t have an open communication style with your spouse and or if you’re telling yourself-”-But, i don’t talk this way.” If you don’t talk this way but can get your partner to listen to you without much effort, you have my permission to skip this blog post :). For the rest of us-
Here are the 7 Communication Hacks
1.“You don’t have to do this right now.”
Your spouse wants to solve a problem for you and quickly especially when you communicate with distress in your voice. If you have a few things you want to delegate to your spouse but need to talk some more and usually about another topic after your delegation, start your statement with-” Honey, you don’t have to do this right now but if you can just add it to your to-do list tomorrow, I would appreciate.”
By doing this, you relax your spouse to listen more intently about more details about your day rather than focusing on doing the “stuff” right away.
“ I just want you to listen, that will ease my worries. I can find my way out later.”
When you start with this statement, you communicate to your spouse that the treatment you most need for your worried or aching heart is his companionship and listening ear. It’s important to assure him that you will find your way out later. By just asking to listen and without telling him that you will find a way out later, he will continually search for solutions because he wants to be your superhero. If this is not your need right now, you will be irritated, maybe even shut-down, to his surprise.
“Maybe You’re About To Do This.”
When reminding your husband for a 2nd or 3rd time about a task he should be doing, start with this phrase. You must admit, it’s quite irritating to be reminded to do something you’re about to do. Maybe your husband got caught up with work or took longer than usual to wash the dishes, give him some room to check off his own to-do list.
“ I know You’re Doing A lot,” OR “ I know You’ve Done the Best That You Could.”
This a prelude to a complaint that you are about to spill out. Maybe you want to complain that your dear husband keeps leaving the lights on in the living after bedtime, start with this phrase. There is no promise that it will not rub him the wrong way, but the rub will become more like a stroke as long as your genuine and not just sayin’ it. It’s true, mommies do so much but daddies have their own share of stressors in this ever-changing world. Just knowing this helps you look at him with kinder eyes.
“ I may not know what you’re going through.”
When you disagree or about to disagree with your husband on some core issues, start with this. Let’s say, you don’t agree with his style of rewarding your kids’ negative behaviors, start with this phrase. If you just say, “ you shouldn’t give in to Marco just because he’s throwing a fit,” versus, “ I may not know what you’re going through but I don’t like Marco thinking that he can get his way simply by throwing a fit.” “ How can we work on this together (collaboration)? When he throws a fit again, what suggestions do you have?” See how the second part sounds so much better. You can chose to be right or be effective.
“Tell Me More.”
This statement does not need a lot of explanation. It sounds tender, open and even loving. Just imagine how you would be more willing to talk and perk up your ears if someone use this statement on you. Tell me more communicates interest, an effort to understand the other. Practice using it more.
“ I feel myself getting upset.”
When you’re talking about an issue that seems to be going wayside, or you totally feel your husband is in the wrong side of the fence, use this statement. This statement tells the other person ( i even use this with my children) that you’ve had it at that moment and that the conversation needs to stop at that instant. It’s effective because it releases the other person from being blamed instead it tells the other person, you (ultimately you both) have to calibrate and resume the talk at another time. When you use “I” statement rather than saying, “you’re making me upset,” the outcome will be more favorable to your relationship.
Your relationship with your other half can take work but I assure you the exchange is outstandingly fulfilling. Imagine having your best friend in the same household.
Imagine the exchange of laughter that vibrates in the internal cavities of your walls.
Imagine raising your children with the love of your life.
Imagine grey hair but young hearts.
Imagine no more.
When you start with these strategies, your imagination will become a reality.
Cheers to a fulfilling relationship to your better-half!
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Sa uulitin ( until then),