Every Conversation Counts
Opposites attract they say. Rings especially true when we survey marriages around us. In many marital relationships, there seems to be one spouse who tends to be the talker and the other – the quieter one. For the talker, the effort needed to communicate seems completely one-sided and it can get rather tiring after a while.
At times, gender differences do explain why there is a disparity in the effort put in to communicate within a marriage. With no intention of stereotyping, the fact remains that most women tend to be more verbal than men. Many men gravitate towards showing love through deeds such as working hard and providing well for the family. But it would do both the man and woman good in a marriage, to go beyond that and find ways to really connect by speaking to each other more.
If you are in a similar situation we’ve just described, here are 5 steps to get your spouse to start talking more to you!
- Share your need for conversation with your spouse clearly and honestly but respectfully.
Never assume that your spouse knows what you’re thinking. Make the effort to state clearly how much you would appreciate it if more conversations took place between the both of you so that you can connect on a more intimate level.
- Encourage your spouse when he does make the effort to talk to you.
Be alert during your daily interactions with your spouse and when you sense him opening up and sharing more with you, don’t forget to show your appreciation. A smile, a stroke of his arm and a gentle nod as you listen, can help your spouse feel more at ease when speaking to you. Resist the urge to pass quick judgment on what he shares with you but instead ask leading questions that show you are making the effort to discover more about him and are genuinely interested in his views.
- Commit yourself to a 10-minute plan to just talk, read, listen and share with each other daily.
Don’t give up even if it’s extremely tough at the beginning. Reading together from a marriage content-related book and experimenting with some of the communication tips shared, will not only add a fun dimension to your marriage but gives you the chance to put into practice some tried and tested tips which can really enhance the quality of conversations between you and your spouse.
- Turn routine activities into times of opportunity for great conversation.
A trip to the supermarket, eating out, sending the kids to an enrichment class – these can double-up as wonderful opportunities for both enjoyable and meaningful conversations.Reminisce about your childhood days as you visit familiar eating places you both used to go to as children or dream up new recipes together as you wheel your shopping cart around the supermarket. Chat with your spouse like you would with a really good friend. Refrain from being “transactional” in your conversations. In other words, don’t restrict conversations to merely rattling off a long to-do list to your spouse and checking them off verbally if the task has been accomplished. Aim to inject more interesting topics into your conversations and watch your spouse open up to you.
- Keep a sense of humor in conversations.
There is no need to have every conversation be an intense one where feelings are shared deeply and major issues are discussed in all seriousness. Keep reminding yourself that you and your spouse are a team who are able to work through issues hand-in-hand in a light-hearted manner. Together, you can get through it all. It just takes a little more patience and persistence.
Do not despair if you find yourself struggling to do any of the above. Consider how it might also be beneficial to get professional assistance to help you put the above ideas into practice. Feel free to contact us. Our staff would be delighted to provide you with a referral to a qualified counselor who will be able to journey with you and your spouse as you seek to connect more intimately in your marriage.
© 2015 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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