Category Archives for "Communication"

How to Get Your Spouse to Talk to You: 7 Tips for Engagement

By Dustin | Communication

How to Get Your Spouse to Talk to You- 7 (1)Do you sometimes have trouble getting your spouse to talk to you?  Or really listen to what you have to say?

It’s amazing how often I hear from couples who struggle simply because they “don’t talk anymore.”

If you’re struggling with this issue, I hope you will find these tips helpful for establishing healthy two-way communication in your marriage.  Even if it’s not a major problem, I think we can all improve in this all-important area!

And if you’re looking to really ramp up your communication, I highly recommend you check out our most popular resource on this topic – How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage (Talking Optional).

7 Tips to Get Your Spouse Engaged

1. Be the Spouse You Desire

The first step to getting your spouse to treat you the way you desire is to model for them what that looks like.  You can’t directly control their actions, but you can control your own.

If you want them to be interested in what you have to say, be engaging and show how much you care about them.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of only reciprocating, but when you take that approach you both lose.  Try your best to “suck it up” and be the spouse that you want to be married to.

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason.

2. Speak Their Language

In general, wives crave empathy and husbands crave respect.  Do your best to communicate in a way that fulfills your spouse on their terms.

I highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages and apply the principles that you learn as a way to connect in a way that your wife or husband will respond to the best.  Speak their love language!

3. Don’t Shut Down

When you are not getting what you want, it is so easy to simply recoil and exact some “revenge” on your spouse by withdrawing.

This is not productive, and it will only degrade your communication further.  If you haven’t read the great  post by Stephanie Baffone called “What’s the Secret to a Happy Marriage?“, I highly recommend that you check it out and be conscious to avoid the unhealthy communication patterns that she highlights.

Remember, it starts with you.

4. Establish Expectations

Once you’ve gotten your own mind set in the right place, it’s vital that you let your spouse know in clear terms what you need from them.

Find some quiet time, turn off the television and tell your spouse that you really need to talk.  Sit down face-to-face, take their hands in yours, look them in the eye and really impress upon them how very important this is to you.

Don’t assume that your husband (or wife) really understands how deeply concerned you are about their lack of communication.

Tell them.

5. Don’t Expect a Mind Reader

After you’ve been married for a while, it is so easy to fall into patterns.  This is especially true in the area of communication where you develop expectations that your spouse knows what you are thinking and how you’d like them to interact with you.

Take a few minutes to read “Attention Ladies: Your Husband Cannot Read Your Mind!” and take this message to heart.

With guys in particular, you cannot assume that we know what you want…trust me. 🙂

6. Set Aside the Time to Talk

If you want to have a healthy marriage with extraordinary communication, you have to make it a priority.

This requires time, although it isn’t as difficult as it may sound.  Check out our manifesto on the topic “Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple” and start setting aside a little time each day for the two of you to simply interact…without all of the distractions we all face in our busy family lives.

If you’re looking for some really easy, but very meaningful, ways to open up the conversation and feel reconnected in as little as 15 minutes, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of 15 Minute Marriage Makeover.

7. Affirm, Affirm, Affirm

Make it a point to let your spouse know about the things they do that you like!  There is no better way to encourage the behaviors you enjoy than by using positive reinforcement.

My wife and I try to make it a point to tell each other one little thing each day that we liked.  This could be as simple as saying thank you for an encouraging text message or sharing how cool you thought it was that they spent time playing with the kids outside while you prepared dinner in a quiet kitchen.

A little affirmation goes a long way!

Give It a Shot

If you take these tips to heart and implement them with passion, I am confident that you can make great strides in your marital communication.  I realize that some issues run deep, and if you have serious problems or a total lack of respect in your marriage, I would strongly advise you to seek professional counseling.

For those of you who simply feel like your spouse needs a kick in the pants, I’d encourage you to take the first step and try engaging them by taking these actions for a week.

I’d love to hear if you are able to make progress toward a more fulfilling, and conversational, marriage.

Take It to the Next Level with our Popular Communication Workshop

Communication is the core of any good relationship. And it’s especially vital to communicate well within your marriage.

Communication WorkshopYour relationship has matured and so has your need for quality communication – the way you interact in the morning, the way you argue, the decisions you make with your kids and the “feeling” you give off to the household when you get home from work are all important forms of communication.

This workshop was created to help you rekindle the intimacy in your marriage through better communication, in all forms. Join Dustin and guest expert Dr. Corey Allan to learn the exact steps you can take starting today to make it happen.

5 Reasons to Tell Her You Struggle with Porn

By Dustin | Communication , Help

This is a very important guest post about a topic that needs much more attention.  Thank you to Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D. for contributing it, and please check out more about his work in the bio line at the bottom of this post.

Maybe it started during a long business trip or surfing through cable channels late at night after she was asleep.

You found yourself more hooked into it than you wanted to be. Viewing that smut violates your own values, and you know she’d be offended if she found out. Her finding out… you shudder to think about that.

You don’t want to disappoint her or have her worry that this is a bigger deal than it really is. She has enough on her plate.

So you resolve to deal with it on your own. You’re confident that you can stay away from it. Maybe some day you’ll even tell her that it was something you conquered on your own long ago. So with renewed resolve you move forward, and do manage to stay away from it – for a while at least.

But then you find yourself caught up in the porn again. Enough times now that you’d have quite a bit to confess if you were to really come clean with her.

What’s a guy to do?

Tell her, that’s what!

I know it might feel impossible, but here are five really good reasons to muster the courage and just do it:

1. Women love real men! I don’t mean men with deep voices who drive pickup trucks and bench press a lot. I mean men who are genuine and honest and open. Our wives love it when we are willing to engage and connect as we are instead of pretending to be something else. Sure,women hate it when their husbands make a habit of lusting after other women, but most women understand that porn can be addictive for men.

She will be disappointed at first, maybe even emotionally devastated. But not nearly as hurt as if she were to find out on her own. She can come to understand that you want your life with her more than you want porn – but only if you open up to her about the struggle and let her know that!

2. You’re one of the good guys who deserves support! You may have developed the habit of holding your emotions in, trying to be tough, and dealing with problems on your own. You may be living in the man box that so many of us were raised to believe we need to stay in.

However, it’s okay to admit that a struggle like this is bigger than you. If it weren’t, you would have succeeded on your own before now. If she were struggling with something this difficult in her life, you’d want her to tell you so that you could be there for her, wouldn’t you?

The truth is, after the initial shock, most women feel closer to their husbands once his porn struggle is out in the open and they’re working on it together. Together you can work on your way to porn addiction recovery.

3. You can get this wedge out from between you and your beloved! Let’s face it, for as long as you’ve been struggling, you haven’t been able to really look her in the eye. There’s a part of you that wants to fly under her radar instead of truly engage and connect with her. Caught up in the guilt, you’ve had less mental energy to devote to her and her needs.

You’ve been more irritable. You haven’t realized it, but the primary source of your misery is not actually the porn but the closeness you’re missing out on between you and the most important person in your life!

4. Teamwork is the best path out of a pornography habit! Now that she knows, you’ll be able to reach out instead of acting out. A strong relationship is the most powerful avenue of relapse prevention. Recalling her pain will be a tether to help keep you grounded when you’re tempted in the future.

You’ll have someone to talk to when you’re feeling emotionally deflated and more at risk of relapsing. And here’s the great thing about the fact that she’s a woman: you’ll be able to talk about what you’re feeling with someone who understands emotion. You’ll have someone else joining you in praying for your success in this struggle.

5. Struggling together will draw the two of you closer! (Eventually.) Communicating about this extremely difficult issue is training at high altitude. Later when you face a crisis at work or with one of your kids, you’ll have access to all of the skills and strengths you’re developing now. If you can face this together and work through it,nothing will be able to tear the two of you apart!

And you really can face this together and work through it!

Trust her enough to open up about it, and you will most likely discover that you can!

Note from Dustin: This topic is so important and too often treated as taboo.  Please do me a favor and share this post with everyone you know…you could have a real impact in a marriage if this reaches a husband that’s just waiting to hear these words.

(photo source)

______________________________

Mark Chamberlain, Ph.D. writes on the topic of porn and relationships at this blog Love You, Hate the Porn. He is also the co-author of an upcoming book by the same title.  You can pre-order Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity through Amazon.

Put Your Cell Phone Away During Date Night!

By Dustin | Communication

Put Your Cell Phone AWAY During DATE NIGHT (1)Cell phones have changed the way we communicate with our friends and family.

While this technology can help us stay connected more than ever, it can also hurt our relationships if we spend too much time looking at a screen instead of our partner.

To keep your relationships going strong, keep these cell phone etiquette tips in mind when you’re conversing with your partner.

Put Your Cell Phone Away During Date Night

Whenever you’re out on a date with your partner you should put your cell phone away.

Not just sitting off to the side of the table, but completely away in your purse or pocket. A study completed by psychologists at the University of Essex showed that even having a cell phone in view but not in use disrupts important conversations and lowers relationship quality.

Researchers put a cell phone or a notebook on a table and asked study participants to discuss certain topics with each other.

The group that had the cell phone said they felt that trust and empathy with their partner was lower during their conversation.

While the phone never vibrated or rang, and most participants had to be prompted to remember that it was there, its presence still affected the conversation quality.

Having your cell phone out during a date basically signals that the conversation you’re having with your partner isn’t important enough for your full concentration.

Don’t Have Important Conversations Through Text

Even though it may seem easier to have important conversations through a text message, you shouldn’t use that screen as a shield.

It’s impossible to tell mood or tone through a text, which opens up the possibility of a misunderstanding.

And don’t carry on a text conversation with another person while you and your partner are talking.

Send a Romantic Message

Of course, cell phones aren’t something that will completely ruin every relationship. They’re still a great communication tool.

You can use your cell phone to be alluring while you’re away from your partner. Send him an exciting text or leave her a romantic voicemail.

Or, if someone is out of town, use FaceTime or Skype to still see each other.

There are many new smartphones that have video chat capabilities. But you don’t have to spend fortunes on a new smartphone, you can get a great deal on a phone with the same capabilities such as the Galaxy S5 from carriers like T-Mobile.

Join an Online Space for Partners

If you’re friends with your partner on your social media websites, it doesn’t really give you the chance to create stronger bonds online.

You don’t want to share your intimate details on the same account that your mom sees, and you don’t want to be the couple who annoys everyone with their constant declarations of love.

Instead, consider joining an online space that’s just for couples. Websites such as TwoCup and Between let you share private photos and messages between just the two of you.

Get the Cell Phone Out of the Bedroom

While 75 percent of people admit to falling asleep with their cell phones within reach, experts say that not only can this habit affect intimacy, it can affect your sleep as well.

Even though it’s very convenient to use your cell phone as an alarm, it also makes it very easy to check your email or social media accounts one last time before you go to sleep.

The blue light given off by the LED screens inhibits melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us sleep.

Cell phones are also a distraction that prevent us from falling asleep quickly and stop us from reaching a deep sleep.

If you have to leave your phone in the bedroom, plug it in far away from the bed so you’re not tempted to reach for it during the night. And for the same reasons you shouldn’t take your phone with you on a date, you shouldn’t take it to bed with you, either.

There’s a time and a place for using your cell phone. While it’s a great way to stay in touch with your partner, once you’re face to face it’s time to put your phone away and enjoy each other’s company.

5 Awesome (and Worthless) Ways to Improve Communication in Your Marriage

By Dustin | Communication

5 Awesome (and Worthless) Ways to Improve Communication in Your MarriageSo, what’s the #1 thing most couples say is the key to a happy marriage?

Communication. Duh.

And of course it’s become the cliche, go-to response from grandparents when the video camera comes around at every wedding reception for good reason.  It’s true!

Good communication skills impact every single aspect of your relationship – from how you handle money to how you raise your kids to how you make your kids 🙂 – there’s just no way around it.

So, I think we can all agree that communication is vital to a healthy and happy marriage.

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5 Awesome Communication Tips from Veteran Couples

That said, when’s the last time you’ve given your own approach to communication with your spouse any thought?

If you’re like me, it’s been a while – like most important things, it’s entirely too easy to lose sight of in the face of other more “urgent” matters.

Well, I was thinking about it recently, so I reached out to the smartest group of people I know for some advice.

Here are 5 fantastic tips they shared when asked what advice they’d give to newlyweds:

1. Under-communicate criticism.  Over-communicate praise.

2. Make your body language and your words match.

3. Always fight fair and remember you can’t take back hurtful words.

4. Use “I” statements, not “you” statements.

5. Don’t share your spouse’s faults with your family and friends.  You will soon forgive, but they may not.

How great is that?  These tips are 100% spot-on and I love them.

There’s just one problem.

Why Those Awesome Tips are Worthless

I love good marriage tips and posts with lists of Top 5 Ways to do stuff (like this one) as much as anyone.

They’re often inspirational and make us feel good when we read them.  Heck, we may even remember one or two quips to pass along to a young couple.

The problem is wonderful tips like these rarely impact your marriage in any real way.

You read them, nod and go back to doing the exact same thing in your life.

I’m not criticizing – I’m the king of the “nod and go.”

The truth is that it takes a little more effort to make a lasting and valuable improvement in your relationship.

Here’s a few reasons why reading top tips doesn’t help much and what you can do instead.

  • You Need to Invest

The reality is that you need to invest in training to make it stick.  This can be in the form of focused time or money, preferably both.

There’s free information on every topic under the sun available on the Internet, but quick and free advice rarely makes a meaningful impact.  It’s only when you’ve got some “skin in the game” that you take what you learn to heart and make it count.

  • You Need to Take Action

I’d say this is the biggest problem most of us face when we learn something valuable, and it’s tied directly to the lack of investment we have in the advice.  You can get the best marriage-boosting tips in the world, but it means nothing if you don’t act on it.

Those who take action on mediocre ideas will get infinitely more results than those that take no action on the best ideas.  If you want to improve your marriage, do something (real) about it.

  • You Need Some Real Support

This is the final area where people fail when it comes to learning and growing.  The reality is that sometimes we need some personal attention from a trusted expert to see results, and it’s always really beneficial to be part of a community.

With a sense of community, we get inspired to take action and there’s a sense of accountability.  Of course, the best accountability is a spouse who is walking alongside us in our journey to being the best husband or wife we can be.

Here’s What You Can Do Now to Make a Real Improvement In Your Marriage

I’m not going to go all Debbie Downer on you and leave you hanging here.  I’m going to tell you what you can do to make a lasting impact for the better – and it’s pretty darn easy.

Last year, I was trying to help a reader with an issue related to communication.  It was a pretty common question that I’ve seen many times.

I was starting to give her a similar answer that I’d given others in the past.  As I was typing my necessarily limited email response, it hit me – this is awesome advice that’s not going to be useful at all.

She needed more than my short “tip-type” response could offer.  She needed a full answer with practical action steps provided in a setting that required focus and investment on her part.

And frankly, she needed it from someone other than me.

Well, I should say my perspective was good, but adding in the perspective of a true communication expert was exponentially more helpful.

So, that’s where the idea of the Engaged Marriage How-To Workshop series was born.  I host a workshop accompanied by a guest expert on a very specific and highly important topic.

We present very practical, action-oriented info that benefits married couples.  Plus, we answer personal questions during the event and usually have bonus materials (like books) to maximize the help they receive.

We’ve completed five of these How-To Workshops on various topics so far, and the results and feedback have been tremendous!

Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage

Our most popular How-To Workshop was one on communication called How To Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage (Talking Optional), and we’ve made it even better with new bonuses and more convenient ways to use the training (video, audio and full text transcript).

I was joined for this workshop by my go-to resource when it comes to healthy and helpful communication, Dr. Corey Allan.  Corey is a marriage and family therapist, and he’s also a father and a husband for over 20 years.  He’s awesome.

This communication workshop is practical, actionable and it will impact your marriage for the better.  We actually guarantee as much.

So, if you’re ready to invest in your marriage and take solid action to be a better communicator with your spouse (and everyone else), you should definitely check out this workshop. 

And there’s no better time than right now during our big sale.

Click Here for Instant Access to the Communication Workshop!

How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage (Talking Optional)

From Bitter Betrayal to Healing & Happiness

By Dustin | Communication

Recovering from Betrayal in MarriageYou’re married … committed.

Trust is high. Satisfaction is deep.

For some, however, unspeakable tests are given.

For some couples, the hideous fingers of Betrayal spread their bony fingers around your necks in an undisguised effort to destroy all that you have built – are building.

The impossible happened. One of you betrayed the other.

Betrayal Has Many Faces

A sexual affair. An emotional affair. Missing money.

Once conquered addictions reappear. Serious lies uncovered. The list is long.

The ripples of discovery mutate into angry, overwhelming waves of devastation.

Your initial reaction? Shock. How could this happen?

You descend into anger. Demand atonement. The piper must be paid. You designate yourself the piper.

You rage, pray, call a friend, withdraw, cry, escape into sleep, on and on.

There are as many ways to express anger as there are possibilities for expression.

Hope Begins to Return But It’s Only the Start

You both want to stay in the game.

You spend painful hours with a counselor … or your minister … alone … together … until almost imperceptibly hope returns.

You’re going to survive. You commit again.

But your work isn’t finished.

The final step — sometimes the hardest step – must be taken.

It’s Time to Forgive

It’s time to forgive – -unconditionally. Otherwise, it’s never over.

The whole experience must be buried in the deepest sea “as far as the east is from the west,” NEVER to be visited again. It’s not easy.

But the permanence of your reconciliation depends on it … literally.

Surviving and thriving after betrayal requires – demands – committing to forgive.

Betrayal is one of the most brutal experiences life can throw at us.

Betrayal is an emotional and spiritual sucker-punch. It hurts — badly.

Can you heal? Absolutely. You’re not the first couple to have survived it, and you won’t be the last.

Plus, there is a pay-off.

Forgiveness enables you to move on wiser, more forgiving, more loving, and closer to each other than you ever imagined.

How to Heal After Betrayal

Academic and religious literature alike teach the same essential healing steps for regaining emotional balance, spiritual equilibrium and, most importantly, the ability to move on.

• Be angry. It’s healthy.

• Grieve. It’s normal.

• Reflect. It’s healing.

• Get out of your shoes and slip into the shoes of the Betrayer. Try to understand the “whys.” Theologian Thomas a Kempis wisely challenges us: Be assured that if you knew all, you would pardon all.

• Remember your humanity. Draw courage from the times you were offered the grace of forgiveness.

• Then move on. Hold your head high. You and your spouse were incredibly brave. Not every couple is this strong. You survived a near-death experience

There is a pay-off. The day will come when you unexpectedly catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. Your reflection will shock you because in your reflection is someone at peace.

The bitter cup of betrayal transformed you in the best of ways. All of that relentless pain morphed you and your relationship into something more fulfilling and beautiful than you ever could have imagined.

Good marriages are sometimes messy with confusing and conflicting layers.

But when regularly given the antibiotic of forgiveness, they heal and grow into marriages that are stronger at the broken places.

And life is good again. I promise.

“The weak can never forgive, Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

Dr. Gloria Wall spent her career as an educator. Currently, she and her husband, the man who inspired this entire idea, live in Edwardsville, Illinois.

She writes a blog focusing on seniors who are committed to aging intentionally, gracefully, and with dignity, no matter their outer circumstances. Her writing is generalizable to all ages. Dr. Wall is currently working on a book entitled Aging with Intention. You may visit her website at www.suddenlyseptember.com

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