Practice good communication skills in your marriage

Listening, talking, communicating, resolving problems, making joint decisions… these are requirements for a successful marriage or partnership.

Here are some tips for effective communication:

• LOOK FOR THE MEANING BEHIND THE WORDS
The first place to start if you want to be heard is to listen yourself. This is easier said than done. However, once you become good at listening, half the current misunderstandings will disappear. One simple way to begin your education at becoming a better listener is to ask yourself “Why is he or she telling me this?” In other words, you are looking for the meaning behind the words. People have good intentions. But often their words don’t reflect the inner meaning. To be able to respond to this inner meaning, you must put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself what is the meaning behind these words or behavior?

• INTERPRETING THE HIDDEN MESSAGE
Another step in becoming a good listener is to realize that people cannot not communicate with you. That is, they are always sending you meaningful (meaningful to them) messages if you can only learn to interpret them. So even if you think you are getting resistance from someone, realize that this individual is telling you something that is important to them. After practicing nothing but listening for a few weeks, you should be getting pretty good at figuring out the other person’s reality.

• UNDERSTANDING THEIR “MAP OF REALITY”
Remember, we all live in our “maps” of reality. Your interpretation of reality is not necessarily superior to any other person’s. Maps are just a convenient way to structure our lives. In figuring out another person’s map of reality and responding to it, you begin to let the other person feel respected, appreciated, even loved. In order to respond to another person, it is necessary to put your own ego aside and look at things the way they do.

• SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
Listen, observe and learn the “language” of the other person. Once you begin to speak their language, you will be surprised how much they want to learn yours. In other words, the real key to learning to talk so that others will listen is to learn the art of drawing people to you. By developing your creative listening skills, others will want to talk with and listen to you too!

Take a look at the Marriage Counseling section of my website for more advice on communicating.

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