Updated: Jun 8
Let's be honest, communication can be hard. This is true for several reasons. First of all, not all of us received a good example of how to communicate well, and communication is a learned skill. We tend not to be born as natural communicators, so give yourself some slack if you're struggling. There is hope!
As for the mistakes couples are making when it comes to communication, well, those tend to be more of our natural responses. Why? Because they're self protective, and not one of us needs to be taught how to do that. Am I right?
The first communication error is NOT COMMUNICATING. Your needs will never get met if you don't ask for them, and your problems will never get resolved if you just wish them away. You have to find your voice in order to communicate well. Your spouse needs to know where you stand, they need to know whats ok with you and whats not, and they need to know if something is bothering you.
The next problem is assuming that your spouse will pick up the cues and figure out what's wrong. In other words, "I shouldn't have to say anything, because they should know that I'm upset". If this is you, you are probably one of the ones that tends to ask for what you need through complaints. Here are some common examples, "This house is a mess", "I'm always the one who puts gas in the car", "We never go anywhere together".
But come on, those aren't too hard to figure out. They're common sense! Right?
They are hard to figure out because no one is listening... because they are complaints.
Complaints produce defensive, non listeners. Complaints invite self protection. Instead, it's best to turn those complaints into communicative asks. For instance, "Can you please help me pick up the house?", "Can you please make sure the car has gas for me?", or "I'd really love to plan a date night or vacation with you."
Here's the deal, the ask is always going to make you more vulnerable. On the other side of an ask is a risk. You could receive a no, or you could be ignored. Rejection can also be on the other side of an ask too, and rejection is always painful. However, you must learn to invest in the ask. It's always a step in the right direction, and for what it's worth, you can always contact us if the ask isn't working in your marriage.
Another communication mistake is taking your problems outside of your marriage. When you begin to talk with others about things you should be talking about with your spouse, you're just asking for problems. This is especially true if you're talking to a member of the opposite sex. We definitely don't recommend doing that. That will set you up nicely to begin having your needs met by someone other than your spouse.
In general, it also sets you up for bitterness to take root. Talking about problems without addressing them only serves to highlight the problems and make you more resentful for having them. So, unless you have a good, Godly friend who points you back to your spouse for resolution, there's no benefit in sharing with everyone else, except your spouse.
You also don't ever want to make the mistake of escalating or exaggerating a problem. Once you start throwing around always' and nevers, you can kiss the good communication goodbye. Those force your spouse to take a defensive stance, and that never leads to anywhere good.
Lastly, threats have no place in good communication. Sometimes in a panic or just in desperation to be heard, couples throw out the D word, divorce. They may not mean it, but it can cause extensive damage. It dwindles away at, or completely removes trust in the relationship. This is not good! Let's put that word under lock and key and not let it out.
If you you want to be a communication boss, Speak Up, Ask for What You Need, Keep it Between the Two of You, and Don't Threaten or Exaggerate.
Doing these things will certainly help you Enjoy the Journey!