What is the hardest thing to keep up with in your life other that Motherhood? Ask me the same question, and my response would be, keeping my marriage fresh and stable. The ultimate factor that makes this work, in any marriage, is good communication. And It. Takes. Work. Like, there is a reason the Lord has made this one of the vocations that will help us fit through the Holy gates!😄 It’s sacrifice! This is the true meaning of the phrase: “It ain’t love if it ain’t painful”. The highest virtue it takes to carry out this degree of effort is humility. It is the struggle of struggles that require you to invest every ounce of your effort into it.
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The first step is to acknowledge this, to care, and to seek a solution. You are here, so you have clearly already taken the initiative. Communication, ahem…(effective communication) is already highly challenging and as such, my objective here is to provide you with realistic goals that you can invest in, to turn these into habits on the long run (because this will take consistent, active effort)! I am not going to bore you with the same ol’, same ol’ “no yelling, no name calling, no bringing up the past etc.” (except for maybe #4). Take in what is for you, slowly digest it, and apply what you need.
Know beforehand what outcome you expect
First thing’s first, and it is the most important. You must know the purpose of your approach! I can not tell you how many times in an argument (because that’s what it’d turn into), that my husband would catch me off guard asking: “So what is your point in all this, what is it you’re trying to get at”? So if you have a good answer to that question before approaching your spouse about an issue, then you are ready for what’s next.
Analyze whether it’s worth letting go
This means, for example, if it’s something irritating or upsetting your husband did, think of what situation he was in when it happened. Was he tired, hungry, upset, in a hurry? For instance, I have been very frustrated when my hubby has left his clothes on the bed. Then I remember he came home so late, so exhausted and had to wake early again the next day. So I just do it for him. If what your husband does is a must talk about, reassure him with acknowledgement and say: “Babe, I know you’re upset and worried about ‘xyz’ but please pay attention to the way you are treating me”.
Determine the circumstance you are in, prior to approaching your husband
The last thing you want to do is start presenting a problem at the wrong time or place. When either 1, your husband is not in the mood or 2, your conversation will be interrupted (just to name a couple examples). So for instance, don’t start on a car ride that’s going to stop soon because of somewhere you have to be. On the other hand, you also don’t want to receive your husband right through the door with an issue right after a long, hard day of work. (I just have this deep respect for my husband and this is one of the first things I swore I would never do. No mention of bills or about fixes I need in the house, nothin’. First, I turn on my Wife Mode for him and the comes in it’s due time). Don’t forget to take your chill pill if you need to so you don’t lash out in fresh frustration!
Start by addressing a relevant flaw of your own (without justifying it)
This can be a big game changer to the manner your husband will undertake your approach from the very start. Do not make him feel attacked. For example: “Look, I know haven’t been perfect about what you told me in regards to my habit of leaving my stuff out in the bathroom, and i’m working on it. But I wanted to address the conversation we had about you agreeing to help me keep our bedroom clean, and not repeatedly leave your stuff laying around. It’s really tough as it is with the babies all day, I really need your help with that”. Make him feel that he is doing something important for you!
Do. Not. In-ter-upt. Your. Husband!
Do not interrupt him! This is how an argument starts, this is the barrier of understanding what one another is trying to say, this is what leads to no where, this is the cause of disaster. So just, don’t go there. Listen, attempt seeing where he’s coming from, and go from there. If he interrupts you, let him. When he finishes kindly address what he just did and say how much you would appreciate having a civil conversation. The objective, after all IS to solve a problem!
Keep your body language in check!
This one totally goes in hand with the tip above! Just because you’re attempting to keep your mouth shut, doesn’t mean to start sighing, eye rolling, or going “yeah, uh-huh”. This has been my issue since I lived with my Dad. My husband has even brought up that that’s why I always had problems with my father’s wife, because of my facial expressions. (Hold on, let me laugh) That was different because…well, never mind. She’s another story.
Do not repeat yourself
Oh. My gosh. There is nothing more annoying than someone repeating the same thing in the same way when it is clear that the other person is not understanding! All this accomplishes is raising the flame. If what you said is being taken in a way you are not intending, calmly rephrase your expression as many times as it takes. This may not always mean it will happen in one sitting, so give it a break if it is needed, ok.
Give the conversation a closure
It can be as simple as a “Thanks for listening” or a “thank you for understanding”. You can end it with a humorous twist to and have a laugh. You can touch his hand and/or give him a peck; whatever you can think of. Just give it closure with an affectionate gesture.
In conclusion, remember to keep in mind how vitally important it is that you remain consistent in these steps and make them an ongoing practice, in order for them to be effective. Don’t just ignore your problems and move on like you’re just mindin’ your own business because if all you do is put a bandaid on it, your relationship will not function! There will always be pain that will get even worse if you do not get to the bottom of things and heal from there. I will tell you right now, it may not be easy to have your spouse on the same page as you from day one, but persistence can eventually pay off. And when you can both carry out your relationship like this, the sense of peace is so relieving!