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5 Steps to a better marriage

A satisfactory marriage is impossible without good dialog. Many couples, however, complain that they do not spend enough time talking to each other. Or when they do, it is in a rather superficial manner. Communication is a skill that requires practice and some fine tuning. The timely addressing of communication issues makes the difference between a mediocre and a satisfying marriage. What is it that you can do to ensure you are on the right track?

1. Take the time to talk

Many people simply do not take the time to talk to each other. By dialog I do not mean calling your partner on the way home to ask if you need to stop by the grocery store for something. I mean a deeper conversation that goes beyond the daily duties. At the end of the day, most of us, unfortunately, simply relax in front of the TV to take a break after the hard day. Turn off the electronic devices and let yourselves spend some time together. Do this until it becomes a habit. And make sure this time is only for you – without your children interrupting or relatives calling on the phone.

2. Be open and talk directly

Perhaps the most difficult balance to achieve is to say exactly what you mean without hurting your partner’s feelings or appearing rough. Many couples have not mastered this skill. They speak indirectly, causing communication problems. For example, if your wife wants you to visit her parents on Saturday, but you do not feel like doing it, you can say this directly. “I really do not want to go there. I’ve had a hard week and I do not have the patience to do it.” This approach is much more effective than saying “We’ll see, I may have a job to do then”. It will help you avoid excessive conflicts, especially when you know you will not go. Direct communication can be tactful. It can show your partner that you take responsibility for your behaviors and that you trust him/her.

3. Think about what you hear

Listening is the most important part of communication. Especially in marriage. Therefore, you should always make sure that you have heard correctly what your partner is telling you, and that you understand it. Exercise this skill by reflecting back the words of the other. “I think you meant that …” or “What I hear sounds to me like …” Say it in your own words what you have heard from your partner – thus you make sure you really understand his/her intention. In addition, you will be able to prevent disagreements before they appear. In most cases they are due to misunderstanding.

4. Talk about your feelings

For those of you who are not used to talking about your feelings, this practice is initially uncomfortable. How to get started? Instead of saying “I had a bad day”, try to describe the feelings you experienced during the day. Are you tired, confused by something your boss has told you, angry with a colleague? Use words that describe your experience of the day. The same is true at home. Share with your partner exactly what is happening to you. “I was really disappointed that you did not call me saying you were going to be late.” Don’t suppress such feelings because they tend to pile up. Share the positive feelings, too. “I am very happy that you came earlier today.” In addition to expressing gratitude sharing the positive feelings has a strengthening effect on the relationship.

5. Discuss the choirs

Every household requires some work to be done. In marriage the topics of childcare, finances, partner schedules, choirs are always a subject of conversation. Discussing these issues will prevent future accusations, such as “You’ve never told me this!” So discuss regularly who gets the car repaired, what budget you invest in renovations, what you want to do in the weekend, where you want to go on vacation next year.
All this seems perfectly logical and easy to do, but in fact,  it is often left behind. It is easy to overlook such matters  in the hectic everyday life with the constant stress we live in. Only when things get worse do couples seek help or resort to divorce. After all, relationships are subject to frequent check ups, which we should not neglect in the same way we do preventive examinations at the dentist or gynecologist.

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