A Communication Tool for Couples
It never fails that the old wise ones among us will tout "communication" as the most important thing in a relationship. We all fight it, but somehow we come to the realization that having good communication habits in relationships is really Mission Critical for success in that relationship. In our marriage, communication has been the thing at which we've had to work the hardest. For us, we were both older when we got married which meant that we were set in our ways and, let's face it, used to getting our own way all the time. We butted heads when it came to fighting fair and expressing our feelings in a way that was not only respectful, but also meaningful.
Lately, we seemed to have turned a corner and have largely avoided the old dust-ups that came along with our communication missteps. I don't know when it actually happened, but I do think it has something to do with one little tool that I've used recently. One of my goals for the new year was to honor my husband more. One way that I've done that is consciously looking him in his eyes when we talk. I don't think I meant to start this practice, it just happened. My active listening is something so small that lets him know that what he is saying is important, regardless of the topic. If he comes in a room to chat, no matter what I have going on, I will stop what I'm doing and look him squarely into his eyes and listen. If he calls me while he's away, I will actively stop what I'm doing (usually on the computer) and I will give him my full attention. (He can usually tell when I'm preoccupied, even over the phone). Little did I know that that one gesture would help shift the course of our overall communication. Heck, he even started doing it for me, and I don't think he even realizes it!
As busy people, we tend to multitask in all aspects of life. I'm guilty of that. In the past I would listen to Hassan while working, paying bills and/or writing a piece for this site. And maybe I could regurgitate to him exactly what he was saying, but by giving the appearance that his concerns were only one of a few things I was juggling at any given time, it signaled that I was disinterested. I know that because that's how I would feel when he would fail to drop what he was doing when I would bring a concern to him. I would feel like I needed to take a number and fall in line with the other things he needed to deal with at any given moment.
On this side of things, I'm grateful for accidentally falling into this habit that has really made all the difference. Maybe it won't work for everyone, but I'm sure glad that it's working for us.
What other communication tools have you used in your relationship? Share in the comments below.