By Hannah Comeaux, M.A, LPC, LMFT
Have your New Year Resolutions come and gone? It’s never too late to decide how you want your relationship to change for the better. Miscommunication is often the roadblock to meeting your marital goals. Be clear and intentional when communicating. Feeling unheard or misunderstood causes arguments and conflict that canbe avoided. Here’s how:
- Eliminate distractions while talking about a serious topic. Ask if it’s a good time to chat. Giving your full attention makes them feel prioritized and validated. You can’t do that while on your phone, computer or watching TV.
- Actively listen instead of thinking of your next counterpoint. After expressing how you feel about a topic, discuss what was said to ensure it was accurately received.
- Prioritize. Pick only a couple things to discuss at a time, stay on topic and be specific. Stay clear of starting sentences with “you always.” Use specific examples that made you most upset or hurt.
- When discussing difficult topics, start on a positive note. Finding ways to compliment your partner by showing appreciation and respect helps to buffer any negative feelings expressed and ensures that the message is received.
- Learn your partner’s communication style and examine how you speak to them. Voice tones and non-verbal communication play a big part in how your point can come across. Avoid name calling or statements that put them on defense.
- Remember, good habits take practice. We all make mistakes in communicating. Be willing to apologize and discuss ways to make improvements together. It doesn’t matter if you have been married for only a few months or many years, good marriages take intentional work, but they are totally worth the investment!
Hannah Comeaux is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist. Her passion is working with couples and families to restore and cultivate more meaningful relationships.