And two became one in all ways, right?
Wrong. Marriage combines two people from two different backgrounds. Put them together for an extended period, and you are bound to have some difference of opinion. Not only that, but you will likely have different approaches or methods for how to communicate your needs in marriage.
What You Say and How you Say it.
You may communicate daily, but do you realize that what you say, how you say it, and when you say it can determine whether you have a great marriage or a tolerable one? One area many couples struggle in is how to communicate their needs to spouses in a way that is effective, yet respectful and loving.
Communication is teamwork. Learning how to communicate your needs is essential for excellent communication skills. However, the way in which you the needs of your spouse is necessary as well. Graciously receiving and knowing how to communicate your needs builds honor in marriage.
How to communicate your needs efficiently in marriage.
To break it down, here are some suggestions for how to communicate your needs to each other:
It’s What You Say
What you say matters. Be direct. Have you ever heard the phrase “beating around the bush?” Many men and women do this, “drop hints.” Then, expect their spouses to pick them up. Just because it seems to you that your hints have expressed a need several times does not mean that your spouse picked up on them. You can’t find fault with them if you haven’t taken the time to directly communicate a need.
Being Direct is how to communicate your needs and avoid feelings of resentment from unmet needs.
It’s How You Say it
According to Professor Albert Mehradian, the tone of voice we use is responsible for approximately 30-40 percent of the message we are attempting to send to one another. When you said “ok” to a question your spouse asked did you sound indifferent, sarcastic, distracted, or sincere? Often couples use a tone of voice that is intended when frustrated at something else. Perfecting how to communicate your needs effectively means paying attention to “how you say it.”
Make sure your tone is communicating what you need with love and respect.
It’s When You Say It
Timing is everything. Pick your battles and your battleground. The heat of the moment is NOT the best time to communicate our needs. Choose a time when both of you are in a stress-free environment of able to talk without distractions, like after the kids are in bed.
Also, you might express that you have something to talk about that is essential. Ask when your spouse would be able to discuss it that night. It sounds like making an appointment, but avoiding emotional responses are critical on both sides and ensures the best timing for how to communicate your needs.
Timing can be the difference between engaging in constructive conversation and erupting like a volcano.
It’s How You Listen
If you are on the receiving end of the conversation, actively listen. Active listening means putting away all distractions, keep eye contact, and don’t interrupt. So often we think we know what they are going to say so we cut them off mid-sentence or tune out altogether. Show your spouse love and attention.
Actively listen and internalize their thoughts and feelings, no matter the subject.
Validating is the final step in how to communicate your needs effectively. Let your spouse know that you have honestly heard them and understand their needs. Repeat it back to them to validate that you got it.
Validating helps to avoid misunderstanding on your part while communicating that you understand.
Practical communication skills in marriage.
Practical communication skills are essential for a marriage to thrive and last a lifetime. Eagle Family Ministries offers marriage help for couples to help them develop those skills. We offer a variety of romantic marriage retreats and Christian conferences.
We talk about issues like sex in marriage, blended family dynamics, honor in marriage, ways to improve intimacy in marriage, as well as many other topics. Contact us to attend one of our Making Room For Romance retreats, or to bring a Real Love Real Marriage conference near you.