Monday, May 30, 2011

Marriage Maintenance - Communication

Lee and I have talked about marriage advice lately...what we've learned in the past 8 years's one topic:

GOOD Communication is vital to a healthy marriage.

You may hear this a lot, but it is something that each couple has to learn. You cannot just expect to have good communication with each other. You have to learn.

As a woman, I often expect Lee to be able to read my mind. To know what I'm thinking. And often, I think I know what he's thinking - and usually, I am totally wrong. We have to verbally talk about it out loud...not just in our heads.

Also, you have to learn each other's communication style. Lee is confrontational and wants to talk about it immediately - to have it all out in the open. I'm a mental processor. I want to think about it, analyze it internally, and then I may or may not be ready to actually talk about it. It drives him insane that I won't immediately tell him what is bothering me. He literally has had to drag it out of me for 8 years. It hasn't changed. He asks me over and over and over until I respond. Every once in a while I will say it immediately, but more often than not, it takes a while for me to talk - and then it's sad because I sometimes just explode on him.

We are very careful about not attacking each other. We don't argue with loaded guns from the past. We know that we each have a mental list about the other about things that bother us that we've learned to live with, and most of those things have been addressed at one time or another, but we do not talk about those things whenever we are in a heated discussion or argument. We do our very best to stay on topic. We try not to say hurtful things. And honestly, whenever hurtful things are said, at a later time we've told each other what hurt our feelings.

There are some fun things about our communication that has happened over the past 8 years...
* Inside jokes that only we get - and it is usually just a regular word or phrase that cracks us up
* Finishing each other's sentences - when we do think alike, it's a great feeling to be on the same page
* Knowing what each other is thinking without using any words - we can just look at each other and know...and usually our eyes light up and a smile spreads across our faces
* We know what to say that can make each other laugh, even when one of us is not in the mood to laugh

Communication is such an important part of a marriage...and we are still growing in this area. There is still a lot for us to learn, but it is definitely worth learning.

A healthy marriage is the greatest gift we can give to our children.

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