Communication in marriage is a keystone necessity. Good communication with your spouse is an essential tool for staying connected and resolving problems so they don’t take over your marriage.
I was meeting with a couple today for marriage counseling and they told me a story that I thought had an amazingly good strategy. They gave me permission to share this idea in my blogpost (of course I won’t be giving identifying information as to protect their privacy).
A Common Communication Problem
In this situation, as with many couples, the wife usually does the planning for special occasions. Most of the time she doesn’t mind but sometimes she feels taken for granted and would like him to plan for things. So last week, she asked him if he would plan a date for the weekend and he agreed. Knowing him the way she does, about Wednesday she started wondering if he had forgotten because he hadn’t said anything about plans.
Stopping to Think Before You Act
She started feeling angry thinking to herself that, yet again, he had forgotten. This made her feel he didn’t care that much. Her love language is “Tokens of Affection” for those who follow “The Five Love Languages” book by Gary Chapman. So having him thinking about a date and taking time to plan things meant a lot to her. She was thinking about not saying anything to remind him about his promise. This would sort of be setting a trap for him on Friday when he had to admit he had forgotten. Fortunately for them both, she had a better idea.
Instead of letting it go until it was too late, she decided to take this approach. She sent him a text saying that she was looking forward to the date he was planning for the weekend. He responded by admitting he had forgotten, but her gentle but insistent reminder prompted him to take time to plan a really enjoyable date.
She decided not to give in to her initial response that would allow her to basically say “I told you so” and rub his forgetfulness in his face. She realized that response wouldn’t help the relationship. Instead she reminded him in a way that allowed him to save face and follow through with his promise, which was a better turnout for both of them.
Communication in marriage takes a lot of work, patience, and a desire to keep negative things from intruding on the relationship. This couple showed an excellent example of effective communication in marriage that works. As a result, they had a great weekend which could have turned out very differently if the wife had went along with her initial impulses.
Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan. He provides counseling for couples, counseling for teenagers, and adults. He provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, and relationship problems. For more information, please visit the website at www.turnaboutcounseling.com.