Do you feel helpless and frustrated when you and your spouse seem to be constantly arguing over senseless things? Do you get tense when your partner starts talking?
Do you hope to start over in the way you two communicate?
While there may be other underlying matters that cause the tension — like a mismatch in expectations, a difference in love languages, or deeper issues that may need professional guidance — a lot of perspectives can be changed with our tone.
If an argument starts brewing, consider these 3 things you can say to bring about positive change in the way you communicate with each other.
“I’m sorry and there are no buts to my apology.”
During an argument, our natural response is to defend our actions; in times where we have really made a mistake, we try to justify ourselves. This can lead to even greater misunderstanding during an argument — the explanations will appear to be an attempt to vindicate ourselves and less of an attempt to acknowledge the mistakes made and hurt caused to our spouse.
Instead, we should take ownership of the mistake and promise to try our best not to repeat it.
We should take ownership of the mistake and promise to try our best not to repeat it.
“I love you and I want to learn how to make things right between us.”
Use this line to initiate a heart-to-heart talk. The reality is that it’s easy to lose track of each other’s needs, causing a lot of pent-up frustrations. Hectic work schedules, unexpected challenges that spring up and overall day-to-day busyness can often rob your marriage of physical and emotional intimacy, leading to very short fuses with each other.
This has been especially helpful for my husband and me, when life got overwhelming and we didn’t feel as connected as we hoped to be. This single sentence signals to him that I am ready to listen to what he needs from me. Go into the conversation with the mindset of understanding your spouse and finding out how to meet your spouse’s needs first.
Resist the urge to immediately share your list of needs, but let your spouse speak first during this initial conversation. Start meeting those needs and revisit your needs when you sense things between you and your spouse have gotten better.
“Thank you for loving me the way you do.”
If your marriage has been giving you a negative vibe, and it is getting increasingly difficult to feel positive about the relationship, take a moment to reflect on what brought you both together and recollect all the times you have loved and laughed with your spouse.
Dig deep into your memories; think about even the littlest of things that your spouse has done or has been doing to show you love. Speak of these memories and deeds and thank your spouse for displaying love in this manner.
Dig deep into your memories; think about even the littlest of things that your spouse has done.
Over and over again, when fatigue from juggling the kids and work got in the way of our marriage, we have found that taking time to reflect on our love and the good times helps us get on track with each other again. A little thank you to acknowledge any effort made to show love can go a long way in healing hurts and increasing emotional intimacy between husband and wife.
If you are reading this, it signals that you are willing to sacrifice your own pride and desires for the good of your marriage. If your spouse is not inclined to new ways of communicating for better conflict management, don’t give up. You can still take the first step to introduce these new methods to connect better with your spouse.
Positive change in relationships can happen when one party gets the ball rolling and change can begin with you.
© 2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
If you feel worn out by the tension and squabbling, don’t give up – find out more at www.family.org.sg/counselling. Let our professional counsellors help you and your spouse reset your marriage, and build a stronger relationship together.