Better Ways to Communicate with Your Spouse

“Mayday! Mayday!”

You recognize that distress call, don’t you? Even children understand what it means. The fact that they do reveals two important ingredients to effective communication. Simplicity and clarity.

The “mayday” distress code was created in 1923 by Frederick Mockford, an airport radio officer in London, after his boss challenged him to devise a distress code that could be understood by pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Because much of the air traffic at the time was between London and Paris, Mockford proposed the expression “mayday.” It was easy to say, and it sounded like the French term for “help me.” “Mayday” communicates so well that it’s still used all over the world.

Many couples forget to prioritize simplicity and clarity when they communicate. That’s why conversations about one thing morph into disagreements about other things. One minute you’re discussing dinner plans, the next you’re arguing about the car, the kids, or money.

To communicate more effectively with your spouse, share your point of view as clearly as possible by narrowing your focus to one problem. And remember this: Understanding is as much about how well you listen as it is about what you say.

If you’d like some help developing more effective communication in your marriage, join me for my conversation with pastor Rob Flood and his wife Gina on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly “Better Ways to Communicate with Your Spouse.”

They share five tools for good communication:

  • First Response. Often, it’s not the first person who speaks who sets the tone for the conversation; it’s the first person to respond.
  • Mirroring. Mirroring means one person repeats, in their own words, what they believe the other is saying. Then, they listen as that understanding is either affirmed or clarified.
  • Proper timing. In other relationships, we are usually careful to be polite in our exchanges. However, we often overlook that necessity in our marriage.
  • Prayer. Without a connection to the source of all power and hope, developing marital intimacy is much more difficult.
  • Physical Touch. A simple way to de-escalate conflict is through nonsexual, physical touch. It’s difficult to be angry at someone when you’re holding them tenderily.

Join me for my full conversation with Rob and Gina Flood on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, via Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.

While you’re here, why not take a few moments to try our free Marriage Assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and identify areas where you may need some improvement.

I’d also like to invite you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Rob and Gina’s book With These Words: Five Communication Tools for Marriage and Life as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, click here or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).

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