Are you trying to bridge the communication gap in your relationship? It’s easier than you think! Let me start with a quick story… A man suspected his wife of cheating on him after a few years of their marriage. He knew he wasn’t imagining things because all of a sudden, she developed a habit of coming home late, sweaty and tired. Their sex life had become inactive and boring.
One day, he started following her wherever she went especially after work. He wanted to see who or what was keeping her so busy and exhausted. After some days of following her, he discovered that she visited someone every day after work and she usually spent several hours in the stranger’s house.
This daily visitation continued for a week until the man decided to go into the apartment and catch his wife red-handed. When he entered the house, the sitting room was empty then he decided to check the kitchen and the bedroom.
He turned towards the staircase that led to the bedroom and he heard his wife singing in the bathroom. He hurried towards where the sound was coming from to confirm that the voice really did belong to his wife.
Immediately he opened the bedroom door, he saw a man lying down on the bed with only a pair of shorts; he was half naked. He didn’t even wait for any further confirmation; he rushed at the man and held his throat with both hands. The wife heard the noise and ran out of the bathroom.
When she came into the room, her husband noticed she was fully clothed. It turned out the man she visited everyday was her brother who was critically ill. She visited him every day to take care of him and give him his medication. Strangely, her husband had never heard of him.
From this story, it is obvious that the real problem lies with lack of communication. The couple lost trust in each other and they stopped confiding in each other. The man made some wrong assumptions and the woman didn’t feel comfortable talking with her husband.
After a while, a big gap developed between them and their communication level decreased drastically. In my previous post, I mentioned the different communication styles of men and women.
At the end of the post, the question was “If men communicate mainly through their actions and women through talking, why do we still have communication gaps and how can we bridge it?” Communication gaps occur because couples don’t fully understand their communication style.
The book, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work warns that “understanding must precede advice.” Couples need to fully understand the situation at hand before proffering solutions. A man has to let his partner know he really understands and empathizes with the dilemma before he suggests a solution.
Often times, what men misunderstand is that their spouse isn’t asking for any solution at all; all they really want is a listening ear!
HOW TO BRIDGE THE COMMUNICATION GAP IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Practice patience and empathetic listening. Sometimes, all a woman needs is someone to vent all her emotions on; all they really need is your full attention. Allow your spouse to express herself without interrupting; don’t dismiss her with a wave of your hand. Listen attentively, get the necessary details and then give constructive advice or solutions.
Whenever you discuss a problem with your partner, resist the urge to give unsolicited advice. Make frequent eye contact, focus on what she is saying and nod in agreement. When she is done talking, highlight the points she mentioned to show you were actually listening and that you got the gist.
Avoid paying full attention to your phone or TV when she is trying to communicate with you; give her your undivided attention.
Say what is on your mind; let your partner know exactly how you feel. Don’t expect him to know just what you need when he isn’t a mind reader. Don’t just sit their brooding day and night; approach your man and tell him how you feel.
Most times, the only thing we need to do is to spell it all out. If your spouse prematurely offers solutions, don’t conclude that he is being insensitive or inattentive. He is just trying to lighten your burden by offering solutions to an issue bothering you. Some men actually feel what their spouse is going through without them explaining too much.
Since they genuinely care about your happiness; they quickly jump to find a solution to your problem. Next time you try talking to your partner, instead of getting annoyed, realize that he truly cares and wants to listen but he also wants to help.
He wants to feel useful in the house; he wants to be seen as a provider and protector. Give him the chance to show you his love through actions. We tend to treat others the way we want to be treated. However, to discuss problems effectively you need to consider how your spouse would like to be treated.
If you are a man, be willing to listen before rushing to offer solutions. If you are a woman, be willing to hear solutions once in a while. When you meet in the middle, both spouses will benefit.
I recommend this Conversation Starters guide to help you bridge the communication gap in your relationship while tackling those tough conversations topics of intimacy, finances and family that impact your marriage.