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How To Have Healthy Communication In A Marriage

by Claudine Sweeney
August 11th 2021
00:30:58
Description

Communication in marriage is a continual learning curve. We know this very well. In today's episode, we share our personal successes and failures in communicating with our spouses and certain pract... More

this is episode 89 How to have healthy communication in your marriage, you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Yeah, yeah. Hi everyone, welcome back. So today our topic, we're going to be talking about communication and this is actually really funny because Claudia and I are communicating very closely right now. Yes, we are because someone forgot her microphone, Someone forgot her microphone. So we are sharing a microphone and we are getting to know each other very well, look deeply into each other's eyes.

So but today we want to talk about communication in all honesty and just jokes aside, but communication is one of those things especially in marriage where it's a constant learning process, right? Communication, we're always learning. I've been married for 16 years now and you have been married cleaning for 33 years today while we're recording happy anniversary, I've learned a few things and I can share with our listeners today all the things not to do because I had those down really well. So like you said it's a learning curve, I had to do a lot of learning and how to communicate in a way that was effective, right, because we all communicate every day, but it's effective, are we keeping the relationship unified and peaceful and good and loving and all that right? Yeah. Right, so as cloudy had mentioned, she forgot her mike today, so this is actually really funny, but we are making it work with one microphone, but I also just want to put a little plug in there that if you hear any noise background noise, it's me, it's always cloudy.

No, We had to get creative today, so but yeah, I mean communications since being married, you know 16 years now, it's you and your husband helping us out actually even just yesterday, it is, it all comes down to communication, how we communicate when we communicate and why we communicate with each other and I know there's a lot of different things, a lot of different tips that you have helped me and my husband with um but also just some things to really keep in mind and take into perspective because and to become aware of, let's even start with that awareness is huge, you know how we communicate, why we communicate and when we communicate and we all know communication, It is, there's lots of different factors right? Our tone of voice, our body language are even more so than just the words we speak and I tell this to my kids, it's like I can say I love you or I can say I love you, which one do you actually believe, right? You know, it doesn't even matter what the words are sometimes, but it is very important.

The other factors in communication that's really going to determine your marriage. You know, the wellness of your marriage, the wellness of ourselves as well. Yeah, that's the word I was looking for wellness. Well, because that's what we're here talking about every week ways we can rise up and shine and really in our relationships, we want those to shine, right? We want the best marriage we can have, we want the best relationship with our Children and our family, our loved ones, the best we can have. And communication is something we do every day almost every few minutes. So we need to learn how to do that, right? And you and I were talking beforehand, it took me, I want to say decades to even begin to get it to do it properly. I think for me, I communicated a lot out of frustration or irritation or anger. Like that's when I would communicate, it's like you're out of defense or out of defense, right? More so, I mean, I'm not talking about that, hey, do you mind getting a, you know, jug of milk at the market? That's communication as well. But really for me, I had such a hard time understanding my own emotion and my own needs, that my communication was very reactionary or reflexive, but it wasn't really thought through an intentional intentional right?

No intentionality and that's where a lot of struggle comes in marriage. If we're not intentionally communicating in healthier ways, then it wreaks havoc in our marriage in any relationship, basically. But that's one thing I had to really learn to is that there's there's times and places to communicate, especially when there are bigger issues or there's a lot of emotion backing it. There's a lot of hurt from past, especially the longer you've been married. You know, there comes with a lot more hurt because over the years, I mean, it just kind of piles up, but there's a lot that goes into the communication in order to have what we desire is a healthy marriage and I always thought, you know, and I've openly shared here as well, our marriage there has been a lot of challenge. I mean, we are to exact opposite people, but that works out to be a beautiful thing as well. You know, we can either look at it that way, we look at it, Oh my gosh, they were not meant to be together or we can choose, wow.

You know, one thing that I had changed my perspective on is I think our kids are going to be well rounded, Yes. Being parented by two very opposite people. Um, but we bring so much to our family, you know, and that we can help others with even as we share our own personal struggles in marriage because marriage isn't easy. You know, marriage is a challenge. Were two very different people. We have our own opinions, our own needs, our own desires, our own ways of communicating. For me, it was not communicating and that's one of my default. You know, I would be scared to communicate because I didn't want there to be conflict and so then I would just kind of be more silent, you know, kind of a silent partner, you know, so to speak, and I was the opposite. I was the one that would communicate just out of frustration, irritation like I shared, but it's so important to learn how to communicate. So we don't let our questions, our feelings, our needs go unresolved or communicated and that way we position ourselves and our loved one to be united and to genuinely understand each other.

And I think about Stephen Covey's, one of his habits of highly successful people seek first to understand then to be understood. I spent years trying to get my help him understand me and what I need and what I wanted. And that first part of it and seek first to understand, I didn't have a strong understanding of didn't really know how to do that, especially when you, you know, we tend to communicate, as you said, out of frustration or hurt from a piece of pain and emotion and so how to do that, you know how to and kind of like, you know, we're both on the opposite extremes to the spectrum, right? I chose not to really communicate about her feelings because I didn't want to deal with conflict. But then what happened is it affects my heart, it affects my heart towards my husband. Um, and I chose to express all of my feelings. You are going to listen to everything I've ever had. And then that affects my husband's heart.

Poor man, He has to hear me go on the offensive. You know, and it hurts him. You too. Yeah, here is it could build some resentment or better for sure. I'm not sure saying you did, but you know, maybe you name it. I did it. I'm sure I felt it. So when it happens, you know, I mean, we're all human, we're imperfect humans. And so there is going to be hurt. I think one of the expectations I had going into marriage, that it was gonna be easy, that we're just gonna get along, we're going to be in love or it's going to be easy. And it was to a certain extent until we had Children. And then when we had Children, then there's just such a more advanced level of stress communication was quick to go out the window because one, the time, you know, when your time is so devoted to raising young kids and you're constantly distracted. I mean, my husband, I can sit down and have a conversation and you know, yesterday we're trying to have a conversation get some advice from you and your husband and interrupted with so many questions and at times were like forget it, we'll talk later.

Which would never happen because then we're tired. We go to pin it. It is you have to be very intentional and you talked about timing. So that's one of the things we're saying. That one obviously we're raising our kids, they were always around. So my husband would feel like he was ready to communicate about heavy things right when we went to bed and my head would hit the pillow and then he wants to have these deep talks about our kids and all, you know not the positives but all the ways we needed to help them. And I'm like I can't be done like I can't function at 10 p.m. When my head hits the pillow it took him quite a few years to figure out tiny like and I had to learn how to communicate and said why do you always you know I would get angry And why do you always do this instead of what I need right now is my sleep. I really value this conversation. I can't wait to have it tomorrow when I am well rested and can pay attention. That is not the way I responded for many years. It was more like can you please stop. I told you for 20 years stop talking to me when my head hits the pillow.

It was so funny. He did it to me last night again, this was about design because we're getting ready to move into our house, we still don't have keys today. But by the time you listeners hear this we should have keys. We had a question about our master bedroom and my plans for it. And literally I had to turn on the light and show him pictures. I'm like oh I could have been so angry. But part of the thing I've learned is I had to assess where is he at Right now. He's feeling the stress and for him this would calm him so he could go to bed. I was still wake enough to show him a few pictures and talk it through instead of Fighting about it like you know it's 10 and my head hits the pillow, you're not allowed to converse with me at this hour. So there's lots of little facets of effective communication, so many like so many do we fight for my need right now or do I value his need right now? He Is about to go to sleep for some reason the design of our master bedroom became a great importance at 10 p.m. tonight. I don't know why he's under a tremendous stress trying to figure out the moving trucks and all that and so for me as his wife, I was like, let me just show him some pictures and explain it one more time and then he literally rolled over and went to sleep like okay, need That, check your back on Pinterest at 10:00, back on Pinterest and I'm like I don't have a design plan for the powder bedroom but powder bathroom.

But anyway I digress. Yeah and you know, I can relate to your husband because when I think of something, I tend to just speak it out loud, you know, I think out loud and so what I've had to learn with my husband very much the same. There are certain times of the day he's a processor, he has to process things. So even for example we've had someone over at the house, you know stop by, I will text him knowing he's gonna come home and some this person will be there. So I need to let him know if it's a surprise, it catches them off guard even though it's a good surprise but it catches them off guard and he just likes to process and plans and planner. Exactly. So just to get himself in the right mental space, especially to be social after a long day of work. So in the past I'm like why what's the big deal about that? You know, it doesn't make any sense but I too had to learn, let me communicate with him and so give him the heads up, but then on the flip side there are times where I had to hold my tongue and that was hard because he when I would say oh this would be nice it would stress him out because now he has to process and think of a solution.

How do we do that? How do we, I'm just making conversation and it feels why is this such a big deal. So I had to learn that there are certain times that were appropriate for me to bring something up and it wasn't necessarily urgent, you know it's not a safety issue, it's not an emergency. Um It that's one practical that I want to share. That was really helpful to me. Things don't need to be communicated right this second that night and it pops into your head. You know even if there's feelings behind it. If it's something that you know you feel justified in your feelings, your feelings got hurt. We don't always need to talk through it at the moment because most likely when we come from that place of emotion it's not going to go well anyways this is something we're teaching our kids, our kids are fighting a lot these days, they're ready to go back to school. Yeah we have been sharing the same practical is with them you know give yourself a break, give yourself a break and our daughter has a very hard time because she feels like I need to get it resolved now. It needs to be resolved now and we're trying to teach her, it doesn't, it can wait 10, 15 minutes, go to your room, read a book and not even as a punishment, just go take a break, let your um abdullah calm down so the emotions calm down and subside and pass through your body and then you can rationally have a conversation and we can actually discuss rather than get into a heated argument because I would feel with my husband so many times I felt we were just having a discussion and it would quickly turn into a heated argument and how did we even get there?

Right. I just, well I have two thoughts related to that one. I think of proverbs 18 where it says fools have no interest in understanding. They only want to air their own abuse. You know, it's like I just want you to hear me right now right? And there is an innate need as he had to be heard. Absolutely. Which is why we feel like it needs to be done right this second right? But the practical, like you said is timing when I've learned. It's best not to discuss the problem when I'm upset or tired or worn out hungry or hungry definitely My husband can always tell when I'm honey when's the last time you ate something anyway, but it's also important to think about the other person's mental and emotional state before bringing up especially a complicated or more heated issue. I'm not talking about, hey I need some milk at the grocery store, but things that have affected our heart and like you said, you know when the amygdala is triggered, when it's on the prefrontal cortex shuts stamp be logical, we can't be level headed, right, We have flipped our lid in essence and that has shut down so the two can't be going on at the same time when the chemical is hot, the prefrontal cortex is cold so we have to walk away for a few minutes and that's the part I wasn't good at, part of me was always like I'm going to forget, I forget, but the truth of it is if I was going to forget it, it probably wasn't that important.

It was worth just letting go, let it go. You know, we are very much this instant gratification, you know, like this fast food nation, we mentioned in one of our previous episodes, we need things fast. I mean when you think about it from now from streaming to having to go back to a VHS and actually rewind a movie, you know, and wait and wait like that can cause some what nobody wants to do that anymore. So the fact that we feel, we like in this minute we have to get resolved, I need to be heard, I need to get my brain and yes, I need, yeah, that's just going to drive a wedge and it's not effective communication and that's the goal is to have effective communication and to get there, one thing that has helped me personally is remembering, we're on the same team, we're partners, we have the same goal, we just approach it different ways, so we need to learn from each other and seek to understand where the other person comes from. First, then we can have a better, more effective communication because it's not coming from this place like well I need to be heard, I need to be validated, I need, I need, I need, you know, those are these desires we have as very human, so don't shame yourself for that, but just recognizing I can pause and take a break as you're speaking, I was thinking of this example, have you ever had your phone overheat on a hot summer day and then it's just you can't even shut it down, you have to wait for it to cool down and then it can come back on and reuse it right?

A great analogy, so I'm going to use that for my Children Yeah, even though they have an experience like my overheated iphone exactly need to go cool off and it's not like you lose anything right? It doesn't, it just patients wait yeah, giving it some time, but it comes back on and then you'll be able to have, it will be functioning again, which is the whole point, That's a great one. So first practical is definitely timing the win another one when you talk about and we've talked about understanding is ask questions like don't assume, I think sometimes for me, I heard it one way I took it one way and just jumped on that. What do you mean? Like what do you Trying to say? Like ask those questions if you're not 100% sure or even if you think you heard what you heard, still ask questions. Have it? Have someone reframe? It may be because what I heard was I remember and I shared this before, but my husband's like, I do not want the house to look like a model home, which of course in my head I'm thinking of course it's going to look like a model home.

It's gonna, I'm putting a lot of energy and effort into making it look such away, it'll be Pinterest worthy baby. Untrustworthy. So, but then he said that and I thought that could have really offended me, but I asked him what he meant and he clarified that he just wanted some place that was comfortable and welcoming and like you said, we both want the same thing, that's exactly what I want, I want a home that's comfort, comfortable and welcoming. But had I not asked, I could have heard that as I don't get to do it my way, he's not letting me do what I want, why is controlling me, why is he trying to put limits on, you know, I could have gone in the center of the family, right? You have no say in this, remember you said I get the inside. You have no say in this. But then the other day, we're now looking for things for his office. He's like, I want you to know the office is not going to look like the rest of the house, which basically he's which part of me is like, but it's in the house and you said I get the inside. But what I really realized is after I stopped, it's like he wants his own space somewhere where it could just be him.

It can look like what he wants. That's what he needs, right? After all we've been through, he needs one room in the inside of the house. It's totally his where I don't have to, you know, micromanaged his shelves and his paper pile on the desk and all that. And that's what he needs. And I respect that. I respect that. He gets one room and we'll have a door on it, even though it's at the front of the house, I'm just going to have to learn to close that. You don't have to see it because I don't have that. My kids would say when they're little mom just close the door and you don't have to see it. That was different with our kids. Yeah, my mom did. They train their character. But anyway. Well, and I think when we talk about, you know, we both have the same goals, right? Our house and us we have our same goals. And it's we wanna here's a question, wouldn't we rather want to live in peace and harmony in our household versus being right all the time. Yes. And that's another thing that's very hard for us, human beings, we want to be right. You know, we need that affirmation, the validation that I'm right, but when the other person thinks they're right and the next person thinks they're right, and then where does that leave you?

Right? So peace is such a huge goal to strive for because that's when effective communication can happen. That's when we can seek to understand. That's when we have grace on each other. We're patient with each other. And one thing that you guys have mentioned to us even yesterday to help my husband and I is the, you know, the scripture in first Corinthians 13 about love. I mean, it's so easy to forget and go back to that scripture. Oh yeah, God told us what love is. We just need to go back to that. But and how your husband specifically encouraged us to focus on love is patient love is kind and does not keep record of wrong. And I feel like, gosh, you have those three, we can camp on that for a while for years, for years. To help with our own hearts. To help with what thoughts we allow in our minds that do affect our marriage. I know exactly how you're sharing a lot of our beliefs get mixed in to the communication and it causes a lot of misunderstanding and conflict and definitely not piece right, a little bit more chaos in our relationships.

Um and we definitely don't seek to understand when we do that and so and keeping record of wrongs, obviously not dredging up the past, you know, maybe there are appropriate respectful ways to bring up some examples like, hey maybe this week I've kind of felt a B and C, you know, overall this feeling from this, these things happening, but just respectfully communicate things, but not well you always do this, you've never supported me or you, you know, and just bring up like all this past, but being able to move on and be respectful and how we communicate our hurts. Um those three I think are just so prominent and practical. Exactly, to really help for a healthy marriage, effective communication. Yeah. And I think part of that that goes along and it goes without asking questions, was really listening. I know for myself when we have arguments or when I'm trying to get my point across, I'm not even listening, I'm preparing my next rebuttal, you know what I'm like you're hearing them to respond.

I'm waiting to respond like that, you know, and usually I cut them off if I'm really triggered. So really active listening is huge. That's a patient's right. Yeah, patient patients right to listen and let them finish and listen, not listening to rebut but just listen, try to try to figure out what's the need that they're communicating. And that's the thing that I have really come to see is that I didn't even know my own needs early on or my own feelings. I was so out of touch. So I would just feel attacked or criticised or you know, not understood. And so I go on the offensive. But then I really, when he wanted to communicate, I needed to learn to listen and go, what is he really trying to say? He needs? Like if he says you always this or you know, he doesn't do that anymore. But we both did. But what is it? He's really trying to communicate what's the need there that's not being met and how can I meet that? It completely changes the dynamic. And that's, you know, not only patient but kind of, you know, it's kind to really see what is there need because obviously as wives as moms as daughters, sisters, we want to meet the needs of our loved ones.

We really do. Our heart is our desire is to be need meters. I think, especially as women, we need meters. But if we're not listening, it's hard to meet those needs because we have a story about what we think they're saying stories about how our needs aren't being met well and what goes with that to you is trusting each other, having more trust in the other person's heart, their intent. Um you know, and maybe they're not communicating in the most effective way at the moment, maybe is backed by a lot of emotion, but trying to kind of let those subside and as you said, dig a little deeper and that the questioning really helps, like, well can you expand on that, Can you explain what you're talking about? Or one thing that my husband recently said to me um what took us on a communication journey was I asked him something just about the dishwasher. Yes, and he asked if I wouldn't criticize him and I'm at first I could think criticized what about that in my criticizing you?

And I could have totally gone on defense and that was the first thing that popped into my mind. But knowing more now what I used to know, you know, I learned to pause, I don't have to react this way from an emotional place. I can Sit on this for five seconds and then the question and ask what about, you know what I said? Did you feel like I was criticizing you? I kind of dig a little deeper dig to get to the need and dig to get to, you know, what is he really thinking about it and it just clears it up and it's seeking to understand, you know, that's a practical way of seeking to understand, rather than, well, I didn't criticize you, you know, which very well could have done and but it would have helped anything. It would make, that's when our discussions turn into conflict. Right? Right. That's right. We don't want our conversations to turn in conflict, that's why we're doing this episode. Yes, that's a good one. Um Yeah, I agree. And we have so many stories to what someone says something and we we interpret it differently, you know, and we make this whole story.

I know for me there were times I just felt like he doesn't care. That was my go to my default mode of thinking was he doesn't care. So if he didn't say things or respond to me in a manner which I was expecting or which I wanted to hear that my default thinking was c he just doesn't care. And when you feel someone doesn't care, then, you know, it's well, that's when the then I go on the offense and then I'm going to attack my way. You don't care anyway, why am I doing this? And, you know, it's crazy, but it's a whole story and it came from within me so many times, it had nothing to do with him, it was me, it was my default thinking was my default beliefs, and that would just get triggered and go into right, and that is something that would be so important to be aware of really take a look inside. Where is this coming from? You know, what is coming up for me right now, what belief is coming up for me right now. What thoughts and you know, then you could really identify the pattern, okay, when this thought comes up in my head, when my husband does this or since this, then it makes me feel like this.

And most of the time it's not what your spouse did, It's what you're thinking and you're how you're perceiving it, right? That's causing your feelings, your emotions. So because the same situation can happen and if we choose to react different ways, we're going to get very different emotion. Exactly. So when my husband said, can you not criticize me if I did not hold my tongue and really speak what I was feeling at the moment. But if I if I did react, you know defensive, then it would make me feel hurt and frustrated and angry. And or since I did I learned to have this self control and be patient and okay, let's just ask and try to understand. Then it changed my emotion to more curiosity and sympathy and try and understand where he's coming from. And so it really depends based on how you want to feel. You know, sometimes people do choose, they want to feel angry.

They feel very justified to stay in their anger and anger is not bad. We've talked about this many many times, but you just want to be very careful how you deal with the anger and not go on the attack and ruin your relationship essentially. That's right. So to wrap up our practical, they really have to do with the when we communicate right, the timing, making sure we're not tired. The other person is not tired, doesn't have to be communicated in the moment unless you're dealing with very young Children and then they need to understand. But we're talking about adult communication here. The why, why are we communicating? Are we communicating to be understood and to understand where we actively trying to build the unity in our relationship or are we just communicating to attack totally different things and how our body language are tone, those are so important, how we communicate, are we communicating in a way of respect and empathy? Like you brought up. I mean that's a great one to do. We empathize were with that person that I know the last few months from my husband.

I it's been very stressful for both of us. I'm like a stretched rubber band that I can snap at any time. That's my typical go to. But I also realized he's in the same place. And so I've had a lot more empathy for him because I know he's there too. He's stressed out. So if he makes little comments like I was telling you earlier yesterday, I was helping with something like okay go put all your things down. like I was three. A grown woman. I know that I need my hands indeed to help you with this desk, but I just realized he's you know, he's stressed, he's tired. It's not a big deal. I could have made it a big deal. Like why are you treating child? Why do you treat? I'm not dumb. But he wasn't about me. It really wasn't. It was about him. And I was like, you know, with my poor husband is stressed out as much as I am. How can I help him through this? I can let that go and not a big deal. I had nothing to do with anything in life. So how, when? Why? Those are great practical to help us be effective in our communicating. And then I'll leave us with this, which I thought was a great version in the message bible in proverbs 18 21 it says words, kill words, give life there.

Either poison or fruit you choose until next time. Yeah. Mhm. All right, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and shine podcast, If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode and while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com are links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah, Yeah.

How To Have Healthy Communication In A Marriage
How To Have Healthy Communication In A Marriage
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