Seven amazing women gathered in my home on a chilly Sunday afternoon to discuss some aspects of what it means to be a happy wife. When I introduced the topic of communication, I could see the uncertainty in the ladies heads as they silently sorted their response to my questions about how they communicate and what their husbands would say about their communication skills.
No one rushed to speak.
However, once the conversation started, it was great to hear the view points on how communication effected different areas of home life, such as: discussing finances, household chores, raising kids, scheduling events and appointments and even pillow talk.
Below are a few of the tips that I wanted to share with you as you navigate communication in your own marriage:
1. Implement monthly budget meetings- A few of the wives present, discussed how they have monthly meetings with their spouses to discuss their finances. This approach helps to eliminate the anxiety that arises for some couples in handling their affairs.
2. Check your tone- Outside of the home, many women find themselves in the role of "boss" and would gladly relinquish that role in the home, but don't always know how to turn it off. One woman present is a teacher and her husband pointed out to her that she often talks to him like he is one of her 6th grade students. It is not her intention to talk "at" her husband, but she is so used to giving instructions that her communication with her husband often sounds condescending. We know that men do not want to be talked "down to," so we have to be mindful of our tone when we are engaging in dialogue at home.
3. Read his non-verbals- Most women are detailed oriented and like to share a lot of information. On the contrary, most men just want the "need to know" information. If you are still talking after about two minutes, chances are your spouse is only listening for trigger words or has tuned you out altogether. Take a breath to ensure, he is still engaged. If not, you may need to try to have that conversation later or ask him for an alternative time when he can be more engaged.
4. Explain your request- On most days, barking orders like, "wash the dishes" is not going to get you the outcome you desire. Instead, taking a different approach like, "babe, I would prefer if you washed the dishes after dinner. When everything is in order when I wake up, I have a better start to my day," can garner the results you want. Take time to change your approach and you may be pleasantly surprised by the response.
5. Time out before telling off- A few of the ladies agreed that when things in their home got heated, they needed to take some time and step away from the situation rather than say something that may be hurtful or that they would regret at a later time.
None of the wives in the circle want to be seen as always "nagging" and they were excited to walk away with these tips to help them become more effective communicators?
I would love to hear how you communicate effectively in your home.