How to keep communication open in marriage?

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
8678 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

We talk about things as they come up. If he acts a way I don’t like, I say, “Hey, I really don’t appreciate/like/feel good about/whatever…” and I list off what’s bothering me. There’s really no need to worry about hurt feelings unless you’re addressing it in an aggressive manner, “Hey asshole, why the fuck don’t you stop doing…” and so on.

Some problems aren’t important enough to bring up. At the time you’ll be festering and fuming and super upset but as time goes by you’ll think back on it and go, “Oh yeah, that one time I was pissed about…” and then you’ll realize it doesn’t really matter.

I trust my husband that if there is a problem, he’ll bring it up. If he doesn’t bring it up, there are no problems. I’m not going to sit him down for a weekly checkin and say, “Hey, what’s bothering you that I’ve done that you didn’t bring up when it happened?”

I’m not really sure I agree with your sentiment about “annoying behaviors” leading to a dissolved marriage and resentment. My husband does stuff that annoys me all the time but I would never dream of allowing it to affect me so badly that our entire marriage fails because of it. I know I do stuff that drives him bonkers, too. But part of being marriage is taking your vows seriously. For better or for worse. If he hocks loogies in the shower or scrubs his butthole with your loofah, there are ways to change that without changing him (Or her… or you!)

Don’t try to fight your battles before they happen, and when they do, pick your battles. Are a few dirty dishes on the counter worth fighting about? Is a starbucks drink on the way home worth bringing up?

Post # 4
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@PeachRooibos: Problem is, an ongoing annoying behavior can lead to resentment and eventually erode marital satisfaction…

Depends on how nit-picky you want to get about certain things. IMHO, there are some things to just leave alone. Pick your battles is a good way to start, and that is what we do. Our communication has always been strong because we talk a LOT. We always ask how each other’s day was, we eat dinner together with no noise, and we put technology away when the other one wants to have snuggle time or just watch TV together–that means no phones or computers.
Just always make yourself available to talk about things, and never brush off things whether they are small or big. He still has feels as do you, and what doesn’t matter to one person might matter to the other, so alwyas be sensitive.

@Hyperventilate:  Ok, the scrub his butthole with your loofa comment made me laugh harder than it maybe should have.

Post # 6
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Definitely pick your battles… This is one I am working on.  Is it that big a deal if I am usually the one doing dishes if he’s usually the one cleaning the cat box?  Hmm..

Also, I like what a PP said about always asking how the other’s day was, eating dinner together, etc.  My parents stopped eating dinner together when I was fairly young so that was always something I never wanted to mimic if I ever got married.

Post # 7
4043 posts
Honey bee

@PeachRooibos:  Interesting question. DH and I have been together for over a decade and our communiation has drastically improved in the past 3-4 years. I would say mostly because we are rather upfront with each other and are not afraid of what the other will think/how they will respond.

In terms of habits that get annoying, I must say, that I began to truly understand and love my DH more when I simply accepted him for who he was and recognized that I cannot/should not want to change him. Of course we will grow and change together, but I married a man I love, for who he is, not what I want him to become.

What I mean by this, is that I used to really encourage (borderline harrass) him to exercise more, eat healthier vegetables, clean things the way I did, ya da, ya da, ya da. It actually caused a lot of strain in our relationship because he felt like I was pressuring and nagging him. Of course I want him to be healthy, but he has to make the decision on his own and then I can support him. Suprisingly, I stopped all the nagging about 2 years ago, and I saw a change sortly after. DH, on his own, began wanting to try healthier foods. He randomly started eating his version of salads (i.e., lettuce, cheese and crutons) out of no where, he stopped wanting fried foods and he had the idea to start buying local, grassfed meats.

I was in shock! I literally bugged him for years to change his habits, yet, when I stopped saying things, he wanted to make changes on his own. And guess what, those habits have continued because he wanted it. 

Basically, I have learned to focus on real problems (if we disagree on serious issues) and let less important ones go. You can’t change someone if they don’t want to change. 

Now if something is really getting to one of us, we talk about it. We are always open to discussions, but that does not necessarily mean that action is always taken or a drastic change occurs. It’s hard to explain and it may not make complete sense, but it has worked really well for us.  

Post # 8
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@PeachRooibos:  We are both in our thirties.  As a whole, I’m a lot more particular and “set in my ways”- stubborn, if you want to get right down to it.  My husband is super laid back.  Amazingly, it works very well for us.

He rarely has a problem with anything- and when I see something coming that I think I am going to have a problem with, I’ll just bring it up as open conversation.  He knows my goal and intentions are never to hurt his feeling; he also knows my personality.  We are very much an equal partnership because I value his opinions and we talk about everything– I want us to always be on the same page/be aware of things/etc……

The great part is– it’s simple.  Be honest and don’t be afraid to speak up.  Usually, if you talk about things before they’ve become a true problem, things can be “resolved” relatively easily!  

Post # 9
1817 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I say pick your battles and read the book ‘The 5 Love Languages’. Its an amazing book that opens your eyes on how to “love” your spouse in their love language. Its pretty simple, but so insightful!

Post # 10
5818 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

@PeachRooibos:  Read any books by John Gottman. I learned so much from his books and I know my marriage is 1000% better because of them.

First learn about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Those are the behaviors that just tear apart a marriage.

Then realize that 75% of all your problems/issues will never get resolved–ever. And you dont get to pick which ones do or dont get resolved. All you can do is negoitate somethintg that works for both of you or just accept that this is the way it’s going to be. Dont waste your time trying to solve all the annoyances. (This does not include disrespectful behaviors which you should never accept. But disrespect is a part of the 4 Horsemen)

Then keep the Love Bank in the positive. I think the ratio should be 3:1 Good:Bad. Meaning you should have 3 good/positive interactions for every 1 bad/negative interaction. Knowing this, I make sure that I always fill up the postive side of the bank by always saying please and thank you (For example- I know it’s his “job” to take out the trash, but I try to thank him every single time he does it), always telling him how much I love him and all thing ways that I’m grateful. That way when something bad/negative does happen, you have enough in the “bank” to weather through it. 

We’ve had a super stressful year–3 years of infertility, 2 failed IVF’s, unemployment, parent living with us hospitalized. But our marriage is stronger than ever and we are more in love with each other than ever.

Post # 11
5818 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Whoops, just did some internet searching and the Magic Ratio is 5:1, not 3:1

Post # 12
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Another thing I think is really important is bringing things up in a respectful way, and that means IN PRIVATE.  I can’t stand when couples fight in front of their friends, or complain about their partner to their friends – it makes you not like their partner, and then for the rest of their relationship you’re thinking about all the stuff she complains about.  If DH and I do get pissed about something when we’re out, we’ll go off on our own for a minute, address the issue, and then agree to not let it ruin our night, and we discuss the particulars later.  Honestly, by the time we get home, we usually don’t care that much about it anymore.  But I agree with PPs about choosing your battles, bringing up the nice things and the happy things in addition to complaints, etc.  But hashing out your stuff in private is important, and you should always be able to bring things up directly to your spouse, instead of bitching to a third party.

Post # 13
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@PeachRooibos:  Have regular sessions where you both can say what you feel and don’t like without feeling attacked by the other person.  We call them “State of the Union” talks.  Nobody is allowed to drink or be drunk during these talks.  Nor are they allowed to be held when one of us is actively mad about something specific.  We do them probably 3-4 times a year.

Instead of letting something bug us for months and even years until one of finally explodes, it gives us a chance to hash out a particular issue and figure out a solution that works for both of us.  It’s not about fighting, it’s about having an adult conversation with someone you love so raised voices are not allowed and neither is calling names or cursing.

Post # 14
6171 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

if something is bothering my, i tell DH.  i don’t hold it back and wallow in it.

same goes for DH.

we talk about everything.

Post # 15
2047 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@PeachRooibos:  I think the biggest problem couples face when trying to communicate something is actually validating eachother! Each person has their own quirks and opinions and just because a spouse may not agree/or understand their point that doesnt mean the other person is wrong, doesnt meant they’re right….but it doesnt mean they’re wrong! A lot of men start these convos Saying your wrong, or you shouldnt feel that way, or I dont think its a big deal so it doesnt bother ME, stop thinking that way”… etc….isnt going to help the situation. (because they are typically more blunt then we are)

One of my GF’s has gone to counceling and they learned they communicate with eachother great…. no issues bringing stuff UP (they always talk about whats bothering them asap….) BUT they’re fighting because they cant validate/see eachothers point of view on what they’re talking about.

For ex: my DH has this “THING” about having stuff on the floor (like a gym bag, or a book lol.. or whatever) and personally it doesnt bother me! He’s legit freaked out hulk style on me over this and I keep thinking wtf is your problem? But what I’ve learned is I need to understand that his “need” for ______ not to happen is his personal issue…. the same way as sometimes I find DH to be really insensitive to how he speaks to me and he says “Im just “talking” why are you taking it personal?” How can I not?

Its the same as something like keeping the kitchen clean, or asking someone to do a chore….. if you come home and had asked your hubby to tidy the dishes before she gets home and you get home and he’s there in his undies playing video games?? whats gonna happen? yelling lol. (this is one of my friends issues)….so the therapist explained to her that just because her hubby didnt have the same sense of urgency to do it… doesnt mean he wont… he just doesnt have that compulsive urge (like her), its her “thing” she NEEDS it done NOW… and its his “thing” he can let it wait… they both need to understand they have diff views and grew up differently, and they need to work together to find a compromise. Neither are wrong an neither are right…….

well…. thats the thing….if Im upset and he doesnt agree on why/doesnt understand because he’s a guy ro whatever the reason… his response should be listening, and being open to what I have to say and telling me “ok well if this is something that upsets you I will do my best to fix ______”, and for me it should be “ok I know putting ____ on the floor is upsetting for you so I will try my best not to do it in the future.

I guess my point is we need to work on our responses to eachother because if we were all more open and validating to eachother then we wouldnt be so afraid of bringing things up with our S.O because we “know” what their reaction will prob be right? defensiveness, possible anger etc…… (thats why we always vent to our gf’s…because THEY VALIDATE US……ie: you vent about the girl on the office whose been pissing you off? your bff will be like “omg what a beatch, your so right, you dont need to put up with that, Id be upset too….”etc etc) right?

Your SO would prob be like “why are you upset, shes just some girl, let it go, who cares”. When all we want is someone to support what we’re saying…..Our hubbies a lot of the time tell us we’re being silly or over-reacting but our gf’s typically have our backs no matter how ridiculous lol. I’m not sure if this all makes sense lol







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