Marriage communication skills are the vehicle that drives you to deeper intimacy. Thriving marriages are strongly connected and built on solid marriage communications skills.
Communication is literally defined as a means of connecting with other people to express ideas, thoughts and feelings.
I have a very sweet Labrador retriever. There’s one problem… he doesn’t know he’s a retriever. When I attempt to play fetch with him, he either grabs the ball and runs away or he stares at me blankly. Playing fetch is a lot more fun when he returns the ball so I can throw it again.
Practicing communication skills in marriage work the same way. In order for us to connect through communication, we have to be able to throw and return the ball.
If you think you have good communication skills and got the basics down, then let’s take it to the next level.
Are you ready to put your marriage communication skills to the test?
Answer each question with yes, no or sometimes. I’ll give scoring information at the end!
Quiz: Do you have good marriage communication skills?
1.Do you avoid face-to-face communication?
In this day and age of texting, instant messaging and status updates, we have lost the fine art of good old fashioned face-to-face communication. It may seem unimportant, but this is a necessary marriage communication skill.
Our brain is wired to respond to facial movement and voice inflection. We are much more responsive when we can look into the face of our spouse when communicating. If we see sadness, hurt or fear in the face of another person, we will be more empathetic and compassionate in our responses.
Start making every effort to practice face-to-face communication.
2.Do you multitask when communicating?
There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. I fail this marriage communication skill often. I try to carry on conversations, even important ones, while wiping counters and clearing dishes.
The other communication no-no is phone scrolling. You know what I’m talking about! Your in the middle of connecting when your phone dings. “Let me check that, keep talking, I’m listening.”
Multi-tasking is a temptation worth resisting. When talking with the love of your life demonstrate how important they are to you by giving them your full attention.
3.Do your conversations tend to be surfacey, lacking any depth?
This is an important aspect of building intimacy through marriage communication skills. Engaging in deeper communication is nearly impossible with someone who does not elaborate on factual answers.
Make every effort to add to your answer, sharing opinions, feelings and challenges you are experiencing. This communication skill can be hard in marriage because it requires transparency. Consequently, transparency gets avoided because it’s vulnerable.
While vulnerability is hard, it’s where we experience love at a deeper and more sincere level. Be brave and vulnerable. Choose courage and dive deeper in marriage communication.
Get 15 Conversation Starters for Couples in the Marriage Toolkit here.
4.Do your interactions with others tend to be all about you?
Nobody is drawn to someone who only focuses on themselves. Period. Skillful marriage communication is an exchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas. This requires both parties to share.
An easy solution to improve this marriage communication skill is to practice listening (more on that here). Ask good questions. By good questions, I mean open-ended questions about your spouse’s thoughts, feelings and ideas. A few open ended question starters…
- What was going through your mind…?
- How did… make you feel?
- That sounds challenging, what ideas did you have about that?
5.Do you have to be right all the time?
If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s this… there is more than one way to do almost everything. Don’t insist on being right. All. The. Time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing our opinions are facts.
Challenge yourself to look at the bigger picture. Do you wanna be right or do you want to connect more with your spouse? The choice is yours… but connection with your spouse will feel better. Just saying!
6.Are you quick to anger?
Being quick to anger usually sets up a pattern of your spouse disengaging. An angry response might get you what you want initially, but won’t be effective in the long run. Furthermore, it’s the fast track to breaking down communication and intimacy in your marriage.
If you need help working through anger to improve your marriage communication skills, check out this article.
7.Do you avoid difficult conversations?
This would be like my Labrador… I throw the ball and he runs away. Some familiar? Do you avoid the hard stuff? Maybe you suddenly become busier or change the subject?
We all have topics we’d like to avoid. It might be time to evaluate why this is a difficult topic. Are you holding on to your desires too tightly? Perhaps you’re struggling to trust God with the topic and the outcome. I encourage you to sift through why this is a difficult topic.
Once you’ve done a bit of sorting, give the difficult topic another try with your spouse. After all, you are on the same team. I challenge you to even take it deeper (see #3-diving deeper) by sharing with your spouse the reason it’s a difficult topic. This marriage communication skill is priceless!
8.Do you hide your true feelings?
If you keep your true feelings to yourself, you are in danger of having a hardened heart mixed with resentment and frustration. Keeping your true feelings to yourself will build-up like a losing Tetris game.
Why are you hiding your true feelings? What are you avoiding? See what I did there? (See #3-diving deeper)
If you don’t share your true feelings, thoughts and ideas – how will your spouse truly know you? This area is worth taking a deeper look inside. This particular marriage communication skill is a must for deeper intimacy and connection in marriage.
9.Do you plan your response rather than listen to what your partner is saying?
When you are plotting a rebuttal… your waiting, not listening. Remember, communication has the bigger goal of connecting, understanding and working toward resolution. Listen to what your spouse desperately wants you to hear. Ask good questions to gain more understanding.
Need a bit more improvement in the area of listening? (Check out this article on active listening).
10.Do you insist on getting everything figured out right now?
In a perfect scenario, spouses would come together, discuss difficult topics and come to a resolution quickly. This perfect scenario is not the norm. Release any desire for immediate results.
It’s often more effective in marriage communication to talk, then take a break to think through the topic. This pause also leaves us more open to considering our spouses position.
As a result, consideration leads to connecting more through practicing marriage communication skills.
All right, how do you think you did?
Yes – 0 points
No – 10 points
Sometimes – 5 points
100 – 90A
89 – 80B
79 – 70C
69 – 60D
59 or below F
A quick recap of the 10 areas of marriage communications skills.
Put your best effort into having face-to-face communication and give your spouse the full attention we all desire… just like when you first started dating. Next, be brave and dive beneath the surfacy stuff. Consider sharing beyond the facts. Don’t avoid the hard topics. Instead, conquer the tough stuff with courage…together.
Resist the urge to focus on your experience. Alternatively, ask your spouse open ended questions about their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Give up being right because connection and marriage feels better than being right.
Listen carefully to your spouse rather than planning your rebuttal. Share your true feelings rather than hiding who you are (more on that here).
Finally, be patient with the process of communication. It’s okay to revisit a topic at a later time. As you practice good marriage communication skills, you will see intimacy and connectedness in your marriage improve. Working to improve marriage communication skills has a huge ROI return on investment.
Marriage communication skills challenge:
Share your results with your spouse. Dare to dive deeper by sharing the area you plan to work on.
Leave a comment! I love to hear from readers. How did you do? Add any skills you think would be helpful!