Three Tips for Healthy Couple Conversations

Getting out of sync happens in a lot of marriages and long-term relationships, we focus on our career, and sometimes the relationship becomes less of a priority. Not to worry, we’ve listed three steps towards renewing the dialogue in your marriage to help improve communication! The dialogue in your marriage needs to be a two way conversation that requires you to listen closely and speak without judgement, criticism, blame or attack.

Scenario:

Matt and Erin have been married for ten years. When they married each was working entry-level jobs in marketing. Their jobs paid the bills, but Erin wanted more from her career, whereas Matt was more free spirited and didn’t want to be bogged down with too many job responsibilities. He wanted a 9-5 and to be able to leave at 5 and not worry about work. In the years after they married, Erin raised up the ranks at the marketing company she was at, and she made it to the director of marketing position. She decided to take the risk of starting her own company, the risk paid off, but it left little time for Erin and Matt to spend together and plans to start a family stalled. Erin works 10, 12 sometimes 16 hour days, including weekends and Matt is feeling frustrated that Erin continues to work long hours, leaving him feeling alone in the relationship.

This scenario is typical for many couples, sometimes one partner’s career takes off, and they commit to the career and don’t recognize the impact it has on the relationship, family, and children.

What do you want?

What do you want from your partner? Do you want them to stop working by 8 pm and spend weekends at home with the family? Whatever it may be, remember to ask in I statements and don’t point a finger, blaming them for what they have done or not done. Often, when one partner is making their career a priority, it is to better their lives, and it does take sacrifice.

Keep responses open-ended

If your partner is asking you to stop working by 8 pm, respond openly and resist the urge to respond with just a no or yes. For example, Matt asked Erin “I’d love it if you stopped working by 8 pm a few nights a week, so we can go out, cook dinner at home and enjoy our time together.” Erin’s response “I understand, and I want to spend more time with you too, I’ve been thinking about hiring a part-time assistant to reduce my workload, I think ending the workday by 8 pm most weeknights will be feasible once I get an assistant on board.” Through this dialogue, you can see into how Matt and Erin are feeling, Matt wants to spend more time with his wife and Erin wants the same, but she recognizes she needs help and is planning to hire an assistant to make that happen. By keeping the questions open and responses open-ended it helps avoid the “what, why and how, which can leave answers with a no or yes, leaving each partner unhappy.

Express gratitude

When renewing the dialogue in your marriage, it is vital to remember to express gratitude. For example, after Matt and Erin discussed ending her workday by 8 pm, Matt responded “I am so happy you are making steps towards ending your workday by 8 pm, I appreciate it! I think it will be great for our relationship to spend more time together. I am looking forward to planning dates!”

Renewing the dialogue in your marriage will take time and practice. If you are struggling with restoring the dialogue in your marriage we suggest reaching out to a couples counselor as they will be able to help see where dialogue is missing and where communication can be improved.

 

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