We all want to be able to talk to our spouses better. We want the conversation to be deeper, funnier, calming, or simply just more. But then real life settles in and we have work, children, school and events to attend.
The busy schedules lead to shorter and shorter conversations and sometimes you don't even have time to talk that whole day, and you only text to communicate. With shorter conversational time periods the opportunities to miscommunicate increase. Not only are miscommunications likely to happen, but also the deep bond you had at the beginning of your marriage might change. It might even feel like you don't know your spouse as much.
You want to get to know them again; you want to be able to share your thoughts with them, but it seems almost impossible.
Here are four secrets to make it easier to communicate with your spouse:
1. Make small talk
You have to build the foundation. You can't expect to have these deep conversations if you can't simply sit and talk about simple things. Sometimes this is hard to start. Focus on keeping the conversation light and staying away from previous fights you've had.
"In spite of seeming to have little useful purpose, small talk is a bonding ritual and a strategy for managing interpersonal distance." You bond through the experience of small talk. You need both the deep and the light conversations in your marriage. The easiest way to build up your conversations is to start small. You will never get to know their deep feelings if you can't carry on a small conversation— proving to your spouse that you care about what they are saying by listening and making eye contact.
2. Don't just ask about emotional experiences... share them (or just share about yourself)
Sometimes we want to just ask and ask and try to get our spouse to tell us their inner-most thoughts, but people don't share their vulnerabilities unless they feel those feelings and sentiments will be reciprocated. When we are vulnerable with our spouse, they will be more likely to be vulnerable with us. We have to give some to receive some.
This is a balance though because you can't make it all about you. According to Psychology Today, "Finding a healthy balance between talking and listening is difficult in most relationships, but even harder as you get to know each other, so it's important you both get a chance to talk and listen." It's normal for couples to struggles with this balance, but it's one of the most important parts of your relationship to work on.
3. Ask questions— don't assume you know the answers
Sometimes we think we know what the person is going to say. We assume too much. Psychology Today says, "Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another." You can only be heard if someone is listening.
Therefore, you can't assume if you want your spouse to feel heard. They need to be able to express their feelings in a safe environment, which only comes from asking questions and actively listening to the answers.
If you want to have good conversations you have to put in the time. The more face to face conversations you have the better. The more time you spend together the easier it will be to listen, share and express feelings or thoughts.
Bonus: Laugh together
We've all heard laughter is the best medicine— it can heal the relationship and the awkward conversations. If you want your relationship to be deeper and be able to have deeper conversations, don't be afraid to laugh instead of getting angry (sometimes this means you have to be willing to laugh at yourself).
You and your spouse have a beautiful relationship. Use these tips to help make your conversations deeper and more meaningful. Don't be afraid to talk to your spouse and express your love for them.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.