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Communication In Marriage Tip – Use A Soft Start Up
Here is a communication in marriage tip to help you develop better skills to communicate well with your spouse. These are taken from John Gottman’s research with couples over the years and my experience as a marriage and family therapist in Utah for nearly two decades.
Communication in Marriage Tip – Soft Start Up
Friction in marriage is inevitable. Gottman found that it wasn’t the presence of arguments in a marriage that caused divorce, but rather how couples argued that caused divorce. This is good news for you! You are like every other couple if you have arguments. What sets couples apart who end up making it over the years is that they use skills to work through these marriage problems that their divorcing counterparts don’t (Related Articles: 4 Signs You Have Marriage Problems and How To Fix Your Marriage Problems).
So, one skill to use that will help you argue in a healthier way is to soften how you approach relationship problems. Set you and your partner up for success. Do this by giving them a soft approach that they won’t likely respond defensively to. Now, they will ultimately respond however they want, but you will do your part by softening your approach.
Communication in Marriage Examples
For example, if you are feeling hurt about his recent pornography use avoid this harsh start up – “So, when are we going to talk about the fact that you keep hiding the fact that you use porn? Why am I the only one who brings it up?” This would naturally elicit a response of defensiveness or attack. Most spouses on the other end of this are not going to react with vulnerability. They don’t feel emotionally safe (Related Article: Create Emotional Safety Through Fixing Marriage Problems). Neither do you, though, right? Even though this is the case, at some point one of you needs to start approaching things in a more vulnerable, emotionally safe manner. You will actually be able to fix your issues if you can do this.
So then, let’s look at how to move towards emotional safety through using a soft start up. Remember, when doing this talk about the raw data and your emotional experience with it (Related Article: How To Communicate Better Through Boundaries). You could say, using a soft start up, “I’ve noticed that we don’t talk about your pornography use when it happens. I’ve been feeling hurt and scared lately about it and would like to talk with you about it”.
You shared the raw data – we don’t talk about your pornography use. Also, you shared your emotional experience with the raw data – I feel hurt. This puts him in a position where he can respond to you in a healthy manner. You are also putting yourself out there in a vulnerable way. Talking about your marriage problems in this way will help both of you heal and move together (Related Article: Common Marriage Problems – What To Do).
Communication in Marriage Tip – Try Marriage Therapy
Using a soft start up is one example of a communication in marriage tip that a marriage therapist will be able to help you apply at home. Most couples come into marriage therapy years too late – so, start now. Don’t let the dysfunction of how your marriage problems put you deep in a relationship hole. Start climbing out today. It is hard work, but can be worth it.