Want to know how to fight less and communicate even better?
From lots of tinkering and experimenting with hundreds of couples over the last 15 years, I can tell you what will really work to change your communication for good!
Here are my "rules" for absolutely fabulous communication...
THE DO LIST:
Talk to your spouse the way you'd talk to a friend. Pay attention to your body language, don't cross your arms or roll your eyes.
BE GENTLE AND KIND
Speak softly, be kind, use friendly words. Imagine your spouse as a hurt child, talk them in the same warm and reassuring way you would with a child.
BE HOPEFUL AND POSITIVE
Throughout your discussion with your spouse, say things like, "It will be ok," and "We'll work through this," or "We're on the same side, let's work together."
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PART
Try to see your spouse's point and own up to what you did wrong.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED TO FEEL BETTER
If you're in the middle of a heated discussion, ask for what you need to feel better and be specific. Need a hug? Ask for one. Need to hear that your point makes sense? Ask for that.
COMPLAIN WITHOUT BLAMING THE OTHER PERSON
Talk about how you feel while being careful NOT to blame your spouse or make fun of them, or degrade them. People who are hurt and insulted rarely want to listen and make things better.
TRY TO SEE THE OTHER PERSON'S PERSPECTIVE
As you're listening to your spouse, frequently mention what you hear from them that makes sense to you and how you understand what they're saying.
FOCUS ON FEELINGS
Use “I” statements and talk about your feelings. Listen for and acknowledge your partner’s feelings.
STAY WITH THE HERE AND NOW
Don’t bring up every problem, every concern, every fight, every issue you’ve ever had. Try to focus on just one issue at a time.
There’s no prize for rushing through a fight or forcing an issue. Slow down, you’ll get a better outcome.
TRY TO FIND A SOLUTION
Don’t spend hours going around and around. ask your spouse what they need to wrap this issue up.
HELP YOUR PARTNER FEEL BETTER
Say something loving or “Hallmark” to them, nicely ask what they need to feel better.
SAY LOVING THINGS
During a disagreement, give praise, compliments, and concessions when you can.
STOP WHEN YOU'RE LOSING SELF-CONTROL
Don’t rush, just stop, go calm yourself down, return to the discussion when you can. Tell your spouse you need a break and agree to a time to continue to discuss.
Grab your FREE copy of this Do & Don't List
THE DON'T LIST
Don't use harsh, critical language designed to demean your spouse. If you wouldn't say what you're about to say to your boss, best friend, or child, don't say it to your spouse.
Don't start hitting below the bet or throwing insults. This shuts down communication and gets you bad results.
Don't assume that your spouse is evil and meant to hurt you. Assume they had good intentions, give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they didn't mean to hurt you.
None of us is perfect, really. Not you, not me, not your spouse. So please don't start evaluating and judging your spouse, it never goes well.
Don't nit-pick, point out flaws and failings. A heated discussion is not the time to criticize and doing so will sink the conversation fast!
Calling someone a name alienates them and makes them less likely to work with you. This is the opposite of what we want!
Try to keep this to a minimum. Profanity is emotionally charged language that can put the other person off. Even though we tend to be pretty lax about profanity these days, I find that most people take profanity more personally during an argument, so less is more here.
CALL THE OTHER "CRAZY"
Want to see your spouse go from angry to irate in 5 seconds flat? Tell them their ideas or feelings are crazy. Nothing escalates a fight faster that telling someone they're nuts or ridiculous or crazy.
Don’t demean the other’s character, talk about how “bad” they are or compare them to a “bad” family members. All of these things cause profound damage long term.
Odds are that your spouse will not understand what game you are playing or do what you’re hoping for. Much better to directly ask for what you want or need instead.
We don’t threaten people we love. Threats destroy trust and without trust, your relationship will slowly die.
YELL, THROW OR HIT
Physical violence is never appropriate and in fact, often escalates problems, damages children, and will destroy your marriage.
We don’t force people we love into doing what we want. Ultimatums are often manipulative and designed to bully someone into making the desired choice. Respect your spouse enough to allow them to make their own decisions.
BRING UP DIVORCE
If you frequently threaten divorce, your spouse will feel very unsafe. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t feel friendship or love or attraction, so don’t mention divorce.
BRING UP EVERY PROBLEM, FIGHT, OR ISSUE YOU'VE EVER HAD
Doing so causes your spouse to feel overwhelmed. We can really only process 1 problem at a time, so stick to 1 issue.
The best way to use this guide is to DO MORE of what is on the Do list and really work to DO LESS of what's on the Don't list.
I recommend you review both lists completely. (Even better, grab your FREE welcome kit that has a fancy version of the Do & Don't list that you can print out and put on your fridge!)
As you are going through, circle one thing from the “do” list and one thing from the “don’t” list that you can focus on during this next week.
Please don’t try to do everything the whole list at once, it’s a big list and trying to do it all can be overwhelming.
I’d much rather you pick one behavior from each list and focus entirely on doing those 2 things this week.
Once you’ve mastered those changes, add 2 more. Keep doing so, one week at a time, and make note of the changes.
None of us is perfect, so you don't have to be either, but do your best to eliminate the Don'ts and increase the Do's.
Doing so will help you have amazing communication with your spouse (and pretty much everyone else in your life!).
|Psst... If you didn't already, click here to get Your FREE Welcome Kit full of marriage boosting games & guides.|