How to Put Good Communication Into Practice

Let’s face it, communication in marriage can sometimes be tough. Even if we are great communicators, remembering to put our communication tools into practice each day is its own challenge. The follow through on practicing your communication skills effectively is what counts. It comes down to choosing to be a good communicator.

Communication roadblocks can feel detrimental in a relationship, but they can be avoided by following a few simple steps. Here are three ways you can intentionally put your communication skills into practice each and every day.

1. Practice fundamentals

Going back to basic fundamentals can help with a fresh approach. Don’t hesitate to write down several communication skills you find helpful on a notecard, and intentionally practice those. If you need a place to start, we recommend the following two basic communication skills:

1. Clarify Content: make clear what your intentions are behind your words, or ask if you need clarification. Don’t jump to conclusions!

2. Reflect Feelings: Let your spouse know you understand what they are communicating to you by reflecting their feelings. Think of it like a mirror. “I understand that you are feeling sad.” Or, “I can see that you are upset, what can I do to help?”

Write those two reminders down, and make it an intentional decision to pull your note card out when you feel you’ve hit a communication roadblock.

2. Give each other room to fail

We are all humans, and by reminding yourself each day that you need to have grace for your partner you will set yourself up for good communication practices and keep your standards at bay. Giving it your “all” is what counts. After all, the attempt is what draws you closer together even if it is not perfect. Give each other grace, and room to fail.

Don’t beat up your spouse if they aren’t communicating to your expectations. Instead, recognize when they are putting forth their efforts and let them know you appreciate this. As long as a genuine attempt is being made, that is what will shine through. With time, practice, and support, communication will improve. So practice being graceful with your spouse, no matter how perfect their attempts at communicating are.

3. Provide an emotional safety zone

Feeling emotionally safe is key to communicating. Remember to keep your communication grounds safe at all times. When you and your spouse offer each other an environment to say what you feel without judgement, your communication will improve. When a person doesn’t feel emotionally safe, they begin to withdraw and regress.

You can also provide a safety zone by pinpointing what your spouse needs. Does your spouse need approval to feel their words are valued? If so reassure them you are listening when they speak. Perhaps your spouse needs time to speak and not feel rushed? Let them know you will be patient and hear them out.

Whatever the case, be sure to respect each other’s communication styles, and provide a safety zone where you can communicate effectively and let your guard down. When you choose to put your communication skills into practice (even if they aren’t perfect), you cultivate intimacy with your spouse. After all, communication is the lifeblood of a relationship, and the most important skill you can have in a marriage!

What are ways you intentionally practice good communication skills? Do you find that you forget to put your skills into play each day?

3 Comments

  • John says:

    I have been married to now going on 45 years and there has been bumps in the road in this journey no doubt. As I look back on these times they now are what I’d call “A blessing” in that they force us (me) to examine and communicate our feelings (especially myself) to each other. I look now at this relationship (and I see all relationships) like working out to stay physically fit. Many times not fun, hurting a good deal of the time, but the rewards are a clear mind, healthy heart and a satisfaction of completion. As Paul says about completing the race, nothing is fun running the race but having the satisfaction of completing it. There is something about longevity that has its own reward. I long each day now to have time talking, holding hands and reflecting with my Bride the things that we both most enjoy and cherish. In a nutshell take the time (uninterrupted) to hold hands, share feeling and concerns and occasionally laugh together. As a song says “Don’t worry Be happy.”

  • Lillian Novak says:

    Thank you Les and Leslie; these are three great tips and thank you John for your wonderful comments

  • Linda says:

    We have been married 47 years later this month and for some time we had not been communicating well at all. A few months ago we starting praying first thing every morning that we would speak kind words to each other to honor God by honoring each other. It is very convicting to realize that when we dishonor each other, we are in reality dishonoring God. God perfect plan is for marriage to be the human representation of Christ’s spiritual relationship with His bride the church. A sign I saw recently is so true – kind words produce kind echoes.

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