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Marriage Counseling: Body Language
When you start marriage counseling, you will notice you have to do a lot of listening! You will listen to your therapist and their advice. But, more importantly, you will need to listen carefully to your spouse. It is easy enough to listen to the words your partner says, but how do you become good at listening and understanding? It can take some practice to become a better listener. Today you will learn physical skills you can apply in your marriage to become a better listener through better body language (Related article: How to Communicate Better with Your Spouse).
Learning Good Body Language in Marriage Therapy
So much of your communication starts with your body. You will communicate things without speaking. Body language is a big part of being a good listener in your marriage and beyond. You may not have realized that even your marriage counselor utilizes certain mannerisms to make sure that you and your partner know they are listening and here to help. You can use similar skills to improve your communication and listening skills with your spouse.
The idea of improving your mannerisms might seem overwhelming. After all, you might not have noticed what your gestures were communicating to your partner. However, improving your non-verbal cues when you listen doesn’t need to be complicated. We will talk about some basic body language tips you can use when you talk to your partner to show you are really listening (Related: Communication in Relationships).
Good Listening in Marriage
There are some simple things you can do to check your body language when you are talking to your partner to show them you really care. These skills are similar to the ones your marriage counselor uses to make sure they are giving you their full attention and being a good listener. (Source: The Skilled Helper by Gerard Egan, 1987).
First, you can work to keep good eye contact with your spouse. This might seem simple, but it can take practice to notice when you might be looking away and losing your full attention. Eye contact doesn’t have to seem unnatural or scary (you don’t need to stare!), but relaxed, natural eye contact tells your spouse “I see you, and I hear you”.
If you find that you struggle to maintain eye contact, it might be helpful to ask yourself why. Are there unresolved concerns you have with your partner that you want to address before you move forward? Is something else making you uncomfortable? These concerns can be great topics to bring up in your marriage therapy appointment. Your therapist can help you become more comfortable with these little changes, which can help your marriage communication improve (Related: Turn Towards Instead of Away).
Open Posture, Open Mind
Another good skill to practice when it comes to listening to your spouse is maintaining “open posture”. Again, this one might seem like a no-brainer. But it can be easy to lose track of how you might be sitting when you are listening to your spouse. This is especially true if the conversation is about a hard topic for both of you. A little bit of attention on your own posture goes a long way (Related: Three Ways to Make a Better Bid for Connection).
Good listening posture will help you have a better connection in your marriage. You can start by making sure you are sitting upright and facing your spouse, if possible. You can also pay special attention to your arms during your conversation. Crossing your arms might make it seem like you are not open or that you are uncomfortable. Instead of showing those cues with your body, try to find chances to talk about these concerns with your partner. Paying attention to your body language can help you find hints about topics that might need more discussion in your marriage (Related: How to Fix Your Marriage Problems).
Opening Up: Not Just Emotional
The process of “opening up” to your spouse is not just about your emotions. Opening up involves good body language, too. Thankfully, your marriage therapist can help you and your spouse learn good body language in marriage counseling and other important verbal and non-verbal listening skills. Communication skills are an important part of strengthening your marriage and relationships.
Want to start improving your communication skills in marriage therapy? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written By Lauren Adkins