Familiarity breeds contempt in any relationship …if you allow it to.
In the past 5 years of being married to my husband, I have sometimes gotten too comfortable in our relationship that I speak without intentionally trying to ensure that I’m coming across with respect.
You know those moments when you wonder why he’s not seeing things the way you’re seeing them and you’re just so short on patience that you just blurt out your thoughts without considering the manner in which you’re speaking…
OfCourse I get the typical reaction to disrespectful communication = communication shutdown.
No one will continue to open up and communicate with someone who makes them feel less than.
But you do not want a communication breakdown. You want your spouse to be able to share anything and everything with you, and learning to communicate with respect is the foundation to that openness you desire.
So, here are a few practical tips to help you communicate respectfully. Digest them and let them become a habit and overtime you will see an improvement in communication between you and your spouse.
1. Call him by a respectful name always:
There are many endearing and respectful names that you can use to address your spouse that will immediately set a great tone for a conversation, even when that conversation is a difficult one. I know you call him sweet names regularly, but even when he has done something wrong, stick with the sweet name. Focus on correcting the act without condemning the person.
“as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”
I Peter 3:6 NKJV
I imagine it is hard to start a conversation with a sincere “Lord” and not secure your husband’s attention or end up coming across as disrespectful.
2. Do not raise your voice no matter the circumstance:
There is absolutely no hurt you want to communicate that you cannot communicate calmly, and as a matter of fact, there is absolutely nothing you say yelling that will be regarded by him, especially when you’re known for yelling.
Therefore, the calmer you are, the better your chances of truly being heard and the easier it will be for your spouse to discuss difficult matters with you. You can speak both seriously and calmly at the same time. A raised voice is just an evidence of loss of control, nothing more.
3. Make and maintain eye contact:
In this world of distractions and “multi-tasking”, it is easy to lose sight of the ones who matter most. So, make it a point of duty from today, to always stop whatever it is you’re doing and maintain eye contact with your spouse when he’s communicating with you. This doesn’t just show respect, it helps you to catch all the nonverbal cues that makes up 75% of communication.
4. Don’t interrupt:
This one can be hard, but it is doable and absolutely worth it. Allow your spouse to finish what he is saying, before you retort. Yes, you may know where the conversation is headed because you’re so intimate, but it is still disrespectful to cut him short mid-sentence. Bite your tongue and let him finish. That is respect.
If necessary, especially for long decision-making conversations, pen down the comments you believe you need to respond to. And imagine how important your spouse will feel if you say “hold on let me get what you just said” as you pen it down. (Yeah I know, I’m extra 😂).
5. Pause the show / drop the phone at all times:
No one on screen is more important than your spouse on scene. Even if he is just making a casual remark, hit the pause button, drop the phone, make eye contact, listen, and respond. If you claim he is number one, act like it.
6. Seek to understand by asking clarifying questions:
“Do you mean…?” “You are saying…?” are great starters to seek clarification. It shows you’re listening. It shows you care. It shows you want to understand. Who won’t open up when they are getting all these positive vibes from you? Do this even when he is making a complaint.
I have gotten to that point where my husband’s complaint is just feedback, not a standard for measuring his love for me. He is simply telling me what he prefers and I encourage that. If you’re very touchy about complaints, it would limit what your spouse can say to you.
7. If more than one person is talking to you, listen to your spouse first:
Children are notorious for competing for your attention. Train them early to know their place by listening to your spouse first. Let them know you will listen to them after you’ve finished talking with your spouse. By doing this you are not just showing respect to your spouse, you are modeling respectful behavior to your children.
Until next week,😎
With all my love❤️
P.S: If you’re unmarried, I believe you should begin working on this communication tips now with your intended or friends. It’d go a long way towards making you a better and more desirable spouse.😘
P.P.S: Personally, I’m still working on number 4&7. Tell me what numbers you’re working on in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.❤️