5 ways to improve communication in your marriage

In an interview with Lorraine Jaksic

  1. Building trust

    Try to always be honest with your partner. This means concentrating on your own reality and speaking only from your own perspective. Do not try to express your partner's point of view: instead, take the time to truly listen to what your partner has to say. This is not easy in the beginning and it may take a while to stop assuming that you know exactly what your partner thinks or feels. It may also be difficult initially to honestly express your own feelings or acknowledge your sense of vulnerability. But persevere: the more honest and direct you can be with each other the greater the sense of trust between you.

  2. Pause before responding

    It is not easy to maintain your calm especially when your partner is yelling and the situation is spiraling out of control. But for good communication skills it is essential to control your knee-jerk response and try to respond without anger to what your partner is trying to express.

    Pause and count to ten inside your head before you answer. When two people are both shouting at once no-one is listening.

    Think, too, about the way you communicate before assuming that the problem is all with your partner. Perhaps there is something that you could do differently that might prevent your conversations descending into yet another heated discussion.

  3. Share good times together

    Make time to have fun together doing things that you both enjoy that get you out of your regular day to day routine and inject a bit of novelty into your lives. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut and forget to take time to do enjoyable activities together – but these moments are important to give balance to your lives and to remind you of the lighter hearted, relaxed side of each others' character.

  4. Stick to topic

    When conversations turn to heated discussions try to keep to the subject at hand and not get off track and bring up old grudges and other controversial issues that you have argued about time and time again. Remember you can always call a time out and agree to discuss the matter again when you have both had time to cool down or after a good night's sleep. Discussing subjects one by one and consciously respecting the other's right to express their opinion and participate in the conversation is one way to maintain your focus and keep everyone's tempers from fraying.

  5. You don't have to win every discussion

    Think about how many of your disagreements with your partner revolve around who is right and who is wrong. This kind of one-upmanship is not good for any mutually respectful relationship and both partners need to be prepared to compromise every now and again in the name of peace and harmony.

Ask yourself if it really matters in the long run who is right. Sometimes choosing not to have the "last word" when you see your partner getting heated is the best course to take and with time will bring its own rewards in terms of a more loving and respectful bond.