Communication is King when your husband is in prison.
Without strong communication skills, you will struggle in every area of your marriage while he is away. Chances are, you will not make it out of prison together unless you learn to communicate better.
Many couples struggle with understanding each other when they live together. It becomes even more complicated when you don’t live under the same roof! We are left with mostly just words on a piece of paper or computer screen without any nonverbals to help us form the context for the words. Your imagination fills in the blanks and misunderstanding hits the fan!
It doesn’t have to be difficult to get along while he is in prison—or even when he comes home. It just takes a little practice and some tools to help you get it right. Of course, you need the right tools or you are right back where you started. There are 7 shocking ways to communicate better that will keep you both on the same page. These tips could save your marriage!
Unless we know what to do, we do the wrong thing.
That is why you walk away wondering why he doesn’t listen and why he doesn’t even try to understand. Chances are, he IS trying. As a couple, you have developed some bad habits that are destroying your relationship. So, lets not waste another minute on unhealthy, unproductive, and unsatisfying communication. Here are the 7 ways to communicate better that will shock you:
1 - Smile before you say anything. I mean ANYTHING.
Yes, this includes before you write anything down as well. Think of something that makes you happy, smile a real smile, then start talking away. When you smile, it is really hard to stay angry or to say hurtful things. This kept me from venting so many times.
2 - Say the most important things at least twice.
This is especially true if you are writing it down. When you repeat what you say in a different way, it reinforces both the context and the importance of the information. For example: “I really miss having you home. It is so quiet here without you- I miss your smile, your laughter, even seeing your shoes in the middle of the floor!” Practice this technique every time, and in every way you communicate.
Before Ron went to prison, we had as much time as we wanted to spend together and talk to each other. But we didn’t do it. Communication was not a priority. Our relationship was shallow at best. Now that Ron was in prison, communicating became a top priority. It was the only thing we could do to make our marriage stronger. Dating became talking.
3 - Listen more.
Really listen for understanding instead of trying to determine if you agree with what he is saying. Understanding will bring you closer, taking sides will drive you apart.
4 - Repeat what he says back to him.
This really works well at building trust between you. Repeating back what you heard him say lets him know you are listening with care. How do you do this? Just summarize and share your interest in what he shared.
5 - Ask his opinions.
After you share something, take the time to ask him, “what do you think?” Your will be surprised by the insights you will gain from an outside perspective. And, he will feel valued by you. Win-win!
6 - Maybe I should have put this first because it is so important!
When you are wrong, say you are sorry. Sounds simple, but many couples refuse to admit when they are wrong for fear of losing ground. But the opposite is true. Nobody wants to spend their life with someone who cannot own their mistakes. Saying you’re sorry takes courage, humility, and love. An apology so clearly tells him you respect him, your marriage, and yourself enough to make things right.
7 - Be honest.
No matter what is happening in your life, there is never a good reason to lie. Tell the truth. Tell him how you really feel, what you really think, and what you really want. But, you must do it in love. When you practice speaking frankly, while also exhibiting concern and love for your husband, you will gain his respect and build a solid foundation for your lifetime together.
None of this sounds like fun—but it creates the opportunities to have fun together. These tips will help you build trust, safety, and respect in your marriage. Once these values are in place, it is a lot easier to enjoy each other’s company and have fun together.
I am rooting for you!