Communication Tips – The Wisdom of 390 Years of Marriage Experience

 By Greg and Priscilla Hunt

Communication, conflict, sex – fourteen married couples, representing a total of 390 years of marriage, were asked what tips they would share with a newlywed couple about building a strong, healthy, satisfying relationship.

Here are their uncensored tips related to the importance of communication:

• Learn everything you can about effective communication – it is a skill that can be learned and developed – learn and use good communication skills – learning is not enough
• Eliminate from your patterns of communication behaviors you brought into the relationship that don’t work
• Speak your spouse’s “love language” every day

• Learn to really listen to your mate – the goal of listening is to understand your partner
• Pay attention to nonverbal cues when talking or listening – communication is more than words – it also includes tone of voice, facial expression and body language
• Call an official “time out” when you feel your emotions getting out of control

Why does the wisdom of 390 years of marriage speak to the importance of communication? It’s foundational to a good relationship!
• Do you need to talk about sex? You need good communication skills!
• Do you need to talk about money? You need good communication skills!
• Do you need to talk about in-laws? You need good communication skills!
• Do you need to talk about parenting? You need good communication skills!

What are good communication skills?
• Speaking for self – you cannot read your partner’s mind, so you cannot speak for them.
• Using “I” messages rather than “You” messages. For an effective I message, fill in these blanks:
I feel _____________________________ (state your feeling)
when you _________________________ (describe the action or behavior)
because ___________________________ (say why the action connects to your feeling)
• Listening to your partner with the goal of understanding his or her message.
• Paying attention to your partner’s tone of voice, facial expression and body language in addition to his or her words.
• Expressing your feelings, wants and desires in addition to your thoughts and opinions.
• Listening for your partner’s feelings, wants and desires in addition to his or her thoughts and opinions. Don’t hear them? Ask!

If it’s worth talking about, it’s worth using good communication skills. We’re not victims to bad habits of communication – new skills, habits and patterns of communication can be learned.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep growing!

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