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 simple 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!
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. Doctors like Angelo Cuzalina suggest taking care of yourself both mentally and physically so you will feel better being the example. 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 guest 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. I will be sharing much more on this topic in the near future, but for now please check out one of my earlier posts called “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!
What other tips would you suggest for getting your spouse to really talk and listen to you?Photo by monica & quentin