Healthy Communication in Marriage

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Welcome back One Degree fam!

On this week’s episode, we’re gonna be talking about the importance of transparent, healthy, honest communication in marriage.

A lot of times we think about the big/”flashy”/obvious parts of marriage to diagnose how we’re doing –frequency of date nights away from the kids, weekends away, etc… It’s actually about how we’re communicating and engaging each other in the everyday mundane that makes the biggest impact on the overall health of our marriage

Plenty of people get divorced after consistent date nights. They date a lot, but fail to focus on the essential communication skills that are necessary for a healthy marriage.

Let’s talk about how you can practically focus on the daily, mundane conversations!

Importance of Daily and Weekly Check-ins

Daily Check-ins

Connecting daily doesn’t have to be complicated – if you wake up together before work, do it then. If that’s not how your morning’s go, connect before bed. If one of you is traveling, make it a routine to call the other and discuss certain questions at a certain time

One of the easiest ways to do this daily is to talk through your high, low, buffalo (something funny or random) of the day.

This serves a few purposes: forces us to slow down and reflect on our days a little bit, starts conversations around things to celebrate, things we might be struggling with, and just fun updates about things we enjoy (Nathaniel’s are usually sport-related or current events, for example).

If you’re a morning person, then talk through what you are looking forward to and nervous about the day! That way, you have the opportunity to follow up later on. This could sound super structured or forced, but do whatever feels natural to you!

Weekly Check-ins/Meetings

We’ve had entire episodes on this and we go super deep into it in an entire module within Marriage Level-Up, but this is one of the biggest game-changers we’ve implemented in our marriage.

We use what we call our Family Playbook – a tool that has a list of the questions we go over in our first half of the meeting. It also has what we call our permanent and seasonal game plans, which are our goals that we’re actively working towards.

These have quite literally changed our lives and the way we operate as a family. We have become so much more intentional about growing in our marriage and evaluating how we’re doing in our growth. Is the hour and a half worth it to invest in your marriage? You choose what you value.

How you start conflict is indicative of how your communication will go.

When conflict arises, slow down, start with prayer, and remind each other you are on the same team.

Might sound cheesy, but it’s hard to stay mad at your spouse when you intentionally pray to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords together. 

Reminding each other that you are on the same team puts you in the position of trying to reach resolution instead of being enemies who are each trying to win the argument. 

Start with voicing complaints, not criticizing the character of your spouse. This is helpful for multiple reasons.

A complaint:

  • focuses on how you are feeling.
  • focuses on the actual situation.
  • asks for some type of change.

However, criticism:

  • attacks the character of your spouse.
  • uses more general language.
  • does not provide an avenue for change

For example: “Hey I feel really hurt and dismissed (feeling) when I am talking and you are on your phone (specific situation). I would really love it if you would put it away when we’re talking. Would you mind please putting it away (avenue for change)?” vs. “You literally never listen to me (notice the always/never language and generalized situation) when I’m talking to you and you’re just ignorantly scrolling (notice the character accusation) in your own little world and I’m sick of it (no ask for change).”

Side note: “always” and “never” should be removed from your marriage communication vocabulary!

I know so many couples whose conversations would be revolutionized if they just learned how to start the conversation well.

If you don’t start conflict well, typically in our flesh we will become defensive and spiral into ever increasing criticism and complaints.

Listen to understand and empathize, not to respond

It’s easy to want to build up a list of things you’ll say in refute, but let your focus be understanding your spouse’s perspective.

A good way to practice this is by repeating what you heard in your own words and asking if you understand correctly.

One Degree Shift

Start having a daily check-in that you can bank on having every day.

Side Note: If you like this conversation, this is just a tiny piece of what we discuss in our Marriage Level-Up Course.

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