5 Ways To Improve Communication With Your Spouse


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

Leanne and I have been married for more than 18 years.  We were engaged for a year.  And we dated for two years prior to our engagement.  All together, we’ve known each other for almost 22 years.  You would think we would have the whole communication thing down by now.



The other night, we stopped by our local grocery store on the way home from our date night.  Leanne sent me into the store to get sunflower seeds and one or two other things.  It took me a little while to locate the seeds, but I succeeded once I asked a store employee to help me out.  I paid, and I came back to the car proudly carrying the selected items.  I put the bigger items in my trunk, and I brought a small back with the sunflower seeds in with me to hand to Leanne.

She took one look at my purchase and proclaimed, “These aren’t the sunflower seeds I was looking for.”

For some reason, I thought she was looking for actual seeds that you plant in the ground.  I had the impression that she needed them for her preschool classroom.  Being the diligent husband, I gladly found them in the store.  What I failed to realize was that Leanne wanted shelled sunflower seeds to use on a salad she was planning to make for guests we were scheduled to have in our home the next evening.

I walked back in the store and found the correct sunflower seeds.

Communication is essential to having a marriage that goes the distance.

Sometimes we get our signals crossed.  Here are a few tips to making sure you communicate well with others:

5 Ways To Improve Communication With Your Spouse

  1. Make sure you are listening to each other.  My hearing isn’t as great as it used to be.  This means I have to be in the same room with my wife.  It means I have to shut off the other noise.  And it means I have to focus on what my wife is saying.  Being face to face is the best way to make sure you are listening.
  2. Clarify the information exchanged.  Sometimes we don’t hear correctly or we misinterpret each other.  The best way to avoid this problem is to ask clarifying questions and to restate the information shared.  “You want me to get sunflower seeds for the salad?  Okay!”
  3. Take notes if necessary.  I forget things.  The best way to avoid forgetfulness is to write things down.  This is one of the reasons I take a grocery list into the store with me.  It helps me remember everything I need, and it demonstrates successful communication and follow-through to my wife.
  4. Apologize when you mess up.  It’s natural to get it wrong from time to time.  When this happens apologize.  Then move to step five.
  5. Correct any mistake you made.  For me, I had to run back into the grocery store.  Failure to correct our mistakes only undermines future efforts to communicate with each other.

What tips to you have for communicating well with your spouse (or with others)?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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