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Practical Communication Tips For A Happy Marriage – Part III


MarriageAnd last but not least!
So, you have listened to your spouse pour out their heart to you on what exactly they are not so pleased about. What do you do next? Depending on who you are you might choose to: a. Walk away b. Roll your eyes, then walk away c. Mutter something under your breath, cause another stir, then one of you storms away. Sound familiar?
Something’s got to change.

One of the main ingredients that seems to be missing from most communication exchanges is the ability for both parties to speak and feel understood. In the past weeks, we explored two elements (talking and listening the right way) that will help the communication with your spouse and the third element – repeating aka mirroring back – we will go into details today.
Here’s the reason why!

For communication to be considered complete both parties have to feel like they have said what’s all on their minds AND their spouse has attempted to see things from their own point of view. How else do you show someone that you have heard his or her point of view without actually “repeating back” what you think you heard them say?
You might’ve missed the intent of their message.

Your interpretation of the message they shared with you might be totally off because as we all know, our perception of the same situation could be much different than that of our spouse. The only way to ensure you didn’t miss the heart of their message is to repeat (or mirror back) to them what you believe they were trying to share with you.
How exactly does this happen?

Here’s an example of a how NOT mirroring back what your spouse tells you could lead to absolute disaster. So you are in the middle of a contention with your spouse and it’s about your mother-in-law. You sent her subtle hints when she visited that she shouldn’t have dropped by unannounced. She stays for a few hours before leaving and you notice your spouse is acting funny. You say nothing and the next day, your spouse tells you the following;
Your Spouse: I did not appreciate the way you spoke to my mother when she visited yesterday.
You: Get up and walk away without saying a word. All the while thinking “so I am now being accused of not liking or respecting his/her mother?”

Wait up! That’s not what your spouse just shared with you. They’ve simply shared that something you did wasn’t appreciated not that you showed unflinching “hate” for their mother.
Even if you thought that, the best thing to do then would be to say it back to your spouse asking to understand their standpoint and if you missed what their intent was, they are now able to explain better.

Let’s try this again…
Your Spouse: I did not appreciate the way you spoke to my mother when she visited yesterday.
You: If I have heard you correctly, are you saying that I do not respect your mother?
Your Spouse: Not at all. I am just stating that the manner you handled the conversations with her yesterday came across a bit stand-off-ish.

You: Oh I see! That wasn’t my intent…(you then go into a proper discussion keeping focused on the issue at hand).
Here, we learn that asking a question (instead of jumping to conclusions) will help you gain clarity. If the intent of you and your spouse is to get to the bottom of the issue and not just to fly of the handle or get into an emotional rage, this method of mirroring back what you believe they said will quell a lot of the backlash that could arise from muddled up conversation.

Of course, I do not have to spell it out that the expectation when you mirror back to your spouse is that you are KIND! Do not mirror back to them yelling, in a condescending manner, harsh tone, or anything that signifies that you’d rather be fighting. That just doesn’t help the situation.
Effective communication is key in any relationship; whether it’s one between couples, you and your boss or teammates, your children, parents, friends etc. If you are able to talk, listen and mirror back what you have heard to your spouse, chances are you are well on your way to getting the communication lines between the both of you, fixed.

It’s always a pleasure sharing with you J
I’d love to hear from you, ask your questions, share your views, comment, like and share this article with a loved one who might need it. You can also read my post “The One Key Ingredient Discovered In Awesome Marriages” to give you further insight on how healthy communication makes a marriage thrive.
About ZeeZee

ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.
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