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Communicating better with your spouse – Part 2

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Today, we shall continue our series on improving communication among couples, by highlighting a fundamental difference between men and women. Based on the way we are wired, most men tend to be more analytical in their thinking, while most women tend to be more intuitive by nature. Therefore, to always expect your wife to explain everything she says might lead to undesired misunderstanding. Generally, men and women think and approach issues differently.

Secondly, women are natural linguists. Just ask a woman to describe something, and you will be amazed at the depth of vocabulary she has. Ask a man to describe the colour of a dress and you will discover he has a limited range of colours. He could say the dress is red, whereas the woman would say maroon, wine, crimson and so on.

Thirdly, one reason many people argue and quarrel is the desire to win all the time. You can win an argument and lose a friend. It takes maturity to select your “battles” and know when to back down for peace to reign.

How To Communicate Better:
• Be a good listener. Many of us are impatient with other people, when expressing their opinions, especially if we don’t agree with what they are saying. However, you must learn to listen to your spouse and allow your spouse to fully express himself or herself without interruption. This shows you respect your spouse, even though you may not agree with his or her point of view.

• Be generous with compliments. When your spouse does something, even if it is a regular thing, learn to say thank you. Also, let your spouse know from time to time that you appreciate his or her efforts and sacrifices made to keep the family going. It’s wrong to always complain, when your spouse does something wrong, but never compliment him or her, when they do something right.

• Learn to read the mood of your spouse. If your spouse is in a fit of rage; that is not the time to begin to criticise or even advise. You would do well to allow tempers to cool down before engaging your spouse in a constructive conversation. Someone once said, advice is good but for advice to be effective, it must also be timely.

• Learn to adopt the ‘Sandwich Method’ in criticism. The Sandwich Method is simply starting your conversation by complimenting your spouse, and then letting your spouse know what is giving you concern and ending it with another compliment. So the complement is the bread and the ‘criticism’ is the filling. For example, a woman can start by saying ‘My husband, I thank you and appreciate all your efforts in providing for me and the children, and I know that if you had more resources you would do more for us, but there is one area of concern that I would like you to look into. Please consider saving a proportion of your income, so that when we have emergencies, we would not be running from pillar to post. I know you love me and the children and I am willing to cooperate with you to make our family better.’ I’m not sure any man who hears this kind of wise words from his wife will ever quarrel. Men should also learn to use the ‘Sandwich Method’ as well.
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In this article:
James O. James
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