Q: I would love to hear some suggestions on how to get my
husband to communicate more.
A: You are on the
right track in recognizing the need for open communication in your
relationship. What I mean by open
communication is honest, authentic expressions of thoughts and feelings that
create understanding between the two of you.
An important part of communication is
recognizing that it starts with you, not with your husband. (The same is true for him.) It is common to point a finger at the other
person and say that they should change.
“Your messages” are safe in that no self
discloser takes place, but they are not effective in generating constructive
communication that is relationship building. One key to effective communication is starting sentences with “I feel,”
“I want,” “I need,” “I perceive,” etc. “I messages” will shift the mood from blame and accusation that “you
One recommendation I have is notice the
next time you and your husband are stuck in silence, disagreements, or
miscommunication and say to yourself – “What can I do to enhance or influence
communication that is relationship building?”
If your intention is to build the
relationship rather than to attack or humiliate, that nonverbal message will
come through. I call it the music behind
if your selection of words is not absolutely perfect you can:
Each keep to “I messages;”
Look at what you can do to influence intimacy (not the other person);
Make sure your intention is to create a safe environment for intimate
Remember, people communicate (or don’t
communicate) the way they do for good reason. Somewhere it was learned as a way to survive. Change takes time as well as learning a set of
skills that will make communication safe and worthwhile.