How to Improve Communication With Your Husband
In One Easy Step
When we sit at the table, he is on my right. There is only a corner between us, and our little corner is sacred. Here, we exchange words after a day apart, no matter what kind of chaos is going on at the other end of the table where our kids show off their food tricks and squabble over what a sibling has done to annoy them.
He is at work from dawn until dinner, and I am schooling our six kids at home. Finding ways to connect and communicate in the midst of our current (re: wild) season of life is one of our biggest challenges. Over dinner, he often reaches over and gently touches my arm without saying anything. It is a small, silent gesture that communicates volumes.
But let me tell you, this isn’t how it’s always been!
We’ve spent 13 years working out the kinks in our communication. We had some bumpy years, early on—immaturity and insecurity serving as the primary drivers of our communication train. I’ll be upfront and say, the recipe we had going then was a great way to train-wreck often. We wanted to be on the same page, but neither of us knew how to get there.
I saw most everything through the filter of feeling inadequate, and he spent his energy trying to avoid conflict by stuffing everything down, never really giving me an invitation into his personal thoughts and struggles.
In the everyday moments of marriage, we often take a small thing and make a big, dramatic argument out of it.
In fact, our most memorable argument in early marriage was over a chicken nugget. See, I told you; a small (ridiculous) thing that escalated into an overblown conflict.
Of course, seasoned wives will instinctively know that it wasn’t at all about the chicken nugget, but about a series of assumptions. The comment that was sorely misunderstood, expectations held but not spoken out loud, or defensive reactions that followed a simple request.
Ladies, there were tears. There were doors slammed and some epic pouting. There was also an uneaten box of chicken nuggets at the end of the night, because somehow one’s appetite takes a back seat when the drama shows up.
Improve Communication in One Easy Step
Healthy communication is an essential part of finding joy in marriage, and listening well is one of the most important skills to master. Listening well takes intention.
When you listen well, you can spot trouble before its at your door, and you can recalibrate your own response to avoid inadvertently amping up a conflict.
How can you listen well?
By asking yourself, “How well am I listening? Am I listening to understand? Am I listening with unfair expectations? Am I reacting out of my own insecurity?”
When you get a pulse on your listening habits, you may be able to find a gentle way forward through a disagreement without the added drama.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19 NASB
Wife Step: Write these four questions on a sticky note and place the sticky note in an area where you will see it:
How well am I listening?
Am I listening to understand?
Am I listening with unfair expectations?
Am I reacting out of my own insecurity?
Which of these questions resonate with you the most? Why?
Emily Sue Allen is the founder of the Kindred Mom blog and host of the Kindred Mom podcast. Soul care for moms and helping women find rest and joy in the midst of busy life are among her greatest passions. She is a contemplative, creative soul who celebrates the beauty of a humble, handmade life and deeply values the power of encouragement. Emily lives with her six kids and husband of 13 years in the Pacific Northwest, and personally blogs at emilysueallen.com. Find Kindred Mom on Instagram and Facebook, and follow Emily personally on Instagram.