There is a massive physiological difference between girls and boys. It’s not just different outside body parts, it’s also different brains. While baby boys are in the womb, their brains get soaked in testosterone. Testosterone has been shown to sever some neurological communication between the left and right brain spheres which are the bridges between emotion and communication. Girls, whose brains soak in estrogen have their entire brain stay very interconnected; emotions and communication are much more intertwined. That’s the reason why most women thrive on communication. In fact, when you genuinely talk to your wife, an MRI can pick up significantly more blood flow in both spheres of her brain. With men, not so much.
What does this all mean? If you want to have an outstanding marriage, you have to be an outstanding communicator with your wife. So here are the 10 ways to improve marriage communication:
1. Model respectful listening:
Top of the list – take responsibility. Don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move – step up and listen already. Good listeners tend to get listened to in return.
2. Choose to be genuinely interested in what your spouse has to say:
Yes, it’s a choice. You say you love her? Then don’t tune her out when the conversation is not about sports. Make the effort to attend that PTA event together – you might have something to talk about. Read that Jane Austen book she loves so much; watch her favorite HGTV decorating program together; walk hand in hand around the art show; show some interest in her friends. Make the choice to be interested.
3. Write your spouse a note that reinforces your message:
- “I’m looking forward to our date on Friday!”
- “Here are some things I want us to talk to Junior’s teacher about. What do you think?”
- “Thanks for bringing me lunch yesterday; I love you so much!”
- “I enjoyed shooting the breeze with you. Let’s meet for coffee and chat some more.”
4. Schedule regular, media-free family mealtimes:
This applies to both marital communication and the family dynamic. Meals can be communication opportunities par-excellence! They’re informal family meetings, clearing houses for information, and workshops where parents both teach manners and model as examples. Plus mealtimes are an awesome ongoing opportunity – with or without children – to keep communication flowing.
5. Keep the television turned off… unless there is a specific show you have agreed to watch together: TV as constant background is:
- An invitation to tune out relationships
- A strong message about what is important (and unimportant) in a home
- A distraction that will always suck attention away from one another
- An excuse to avoid communication
6. Make eye contact when you are talking:
Also make good use of use touch, responsive and reflective feedback, and body language (smiles, gestures, head tilts, raised eyebrows, nods, etc.) to demonstrate that communication is actually occurring.
7. Do not answer your phone, text, or multi-task on any level while interacting with your spouse:
Doing any of the above sends a clear message of priorities.
8. Avoid surface level or single word responses:
When talking with your spouse, it’s too easy to brush off real communication, squash first-order interaction, and signal your spouse you are not really interested.
9. Designate a central location for all important notices, dates, reminders, messages etc.:
Maybe a large calendar on the refrigerator – or a bulletin board in the kitchen – or a white-board by the front door.
10. Include your spouse as a Friend in all your social media lists:
No one should get more of your time than your spouse. Include one another as primary contacts, keep one another “in the loop”, send one another messages every day, and act as if you are each other’s best friend. Chances are, you will be.
Huddle Up Question
What is one thing I can do to improve our communication?