Is it even possible to communicate with my husband? I never believed it.
Learning effective communication between couples takes time, commitment and proactive effort. It involves releasing pride and giving respect, opening minds and ears, and avoiding judgment.
I am a fighter. I grew up in a household of yelling and fighting, and stomping away from each other after a heated bout of flaming words. I have always taken pride in my verbal prowess, shouting down any companion that dared to challenge me. I wonder why not a single one of those relationships lasted…? Since I got married, I realized that there is indeed another way of communicating!
It was hard for me to admit that my pride was getting in the way of good communication with my husband. After all, who really wins when everyone’s feelings are hurt? The answer is that both parties lose in a heated argument. Words can never be taken back, regardless of how “right” I might have been. I had to transition away from the mindset that I could “win” an argument. We’ve all been taught that yelling and name calling are bad manners – why would anyone feel good about doing those things to a loved one? When I let go of my pride, I realized that it’s much more fulfilling when we both get a little bit of what we want. When I learned to respect his feelings and opinions, we started to really enjoy each other’s company.
A great way to communicate with your husband is to shut your mouth. Men are often overrun by thier more verbal wives. And we wives are selfish enough to take all of the time, clucking about what Linda was wearing and being astounded that Susan went out with yet another man. We make the mistake of assuming that talking is the same as communicating, and it is not. Communication is a TWO-WAY conversation, about things that matter. If there is a subject that is bothering you, choose a time when you both have your emotions are under control and you can approach each other with the intent of finding a solution (not blaming each other!). Sit down, face to face with your husband, holding hands. Ask your husband a sincere question about the topic – maybe “Honey, I am really frustrated about the dishes sitting around for so long. How can we work out a solution together?” And here’s the real kicker: wait for him to answer! Don’t accuse, don’t criticize, just listen. Have a real conversation about a real issue, and come to a real solution.
It’s a plain fact that men and women do not think alike. We were not made to think alike. It’s commonly accepted as humorous to criticize men for their straight-forward thought patterns. It’s also a fact that “different” is not necessarily “worse”. As a woman, I had to shed that cynical outlook that my husband is a caveman, driven only desire for food and sex. Women in the United States are practically programmed from birth to assume that men, although often in management and leadership positions, are actually brainless idiots. A wise woman once said to me, “Where would you be without that judgment?” It took me about three months to realize what she meant. When my husband would make a suggestion, I would automatically have a different answer and revert to the thought that he was stupid. Then I would scorn him for being so stupid, and dictate to him what we would do instead. What I didn’t realize was that I was passing judgment on him, and that it’s not my place to do so. We’re in a partnership, and it’s important that both parties have an equal voice. I had to stop prejudging and start giving him some credit. To my amazement, he is still getting smarter.
Of course, these are only three brief examinations of communications between couples. Relationships are very complex, yet they can be so simple if we allow them to be. Humbling ourselves to each other, giving respect, listening and avoiding judgment will give any couple a good start at great communication.
Until I met my husband, I thought the only way that couples could communicate was to yell at each other and then stomp out of the room. In the process of building a strong marriage, I realized there is another way. Now, my husband is the greatest source of joy and support that I have. I think I’ll call him and tell him that right now.