Are you looking for ways to communicate better with your spouse?
Communication can be hard in marriage…especially when you are polar opposites.
This is an area where my husband and I struggled for years!
We would have “heated discussions” about certain things, only to find out that we were saying the same exact thing, but just in different ways.
You see, my husband and I see things very differently.
We communicate differently.
And it only took 22 years of being married to come to that conclusion!
Being opposite is what attracted me to him. Yet as we’ve grow deeper together (and lived with each other longer) those differences quickly became irritants.
We began to see those “strengths” that once attracted us as weaknesses.
Perhaps that is exactly where you are in your marriage today.
If so, here are 3 resources to help you communicate better with your spouse!
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3 Practical Tips to Help You Communicate Better with Your Spouse
Find out Your DISC
It’s so important to understand how God wired us. Many times we can become offended by people simply because we don’t understand the way they are designed.
The same is true for our spouses.
A few weeks ago my husband and I had the privilege to minister together at our local church. We did life planning with a large group of couples who desired to grow in their marriage and understand each other better.
So we had them take a DISC test.
Maybe you’ve heard of it?
DISC is a personality profile assessment that reveals certain tendencies in your personality. There are 4 core personality profiles in the assessment:
Let’s take a brief look at each one.
- The Driver: This person is goal oriented and loves to accomplish whatever they set out to do. They can often be called strong willed due to their direct, decisive and independent nature. Their biggest fear is that someone will manipulate or take advantage of them.
- The Influencer: This person LOVES people and is very persuasive. Often the life of the party, this person is extremely outgoing, thrives on being in social environments and entertaining others. The biggest fear for the Influencer is that someone will reject them.
- The Steady: This person loves a stable environment. They are team players and are always willing to lend a helping hand, but they absolutely love their routines. Their biggest fear is rapid change.
- The Compliant: This person is highly analytical, a rule follower and love things to be in order. The Compliant person is all about the process (and the process needs to be right!). The biggest fear for the Compliant is to be told they’ve done something wrong.
Maybe you’re already seeing some differences in you and your spouse just by reading these descriptions! Most people fall into more than one category, but usually have one or two that stick out the most. Jesus was a perfect mix of all 4 of these!
Taking the DISC allows you and your spouse to get a better understanding on how each of you are wired. As you begin to uncover your personality tendencies you will be able to better understand the why behind each others actions.
Let me give you an example.
My husband is a High Influencer with many Driver tendencies as well (He’s an ID). I, on the other hand, am a High Compliant with many Driver tendencies (I’m a CD).
Bottom line….He energizes around people, I do not. He loves to go out to social events, I’d rather sit home and watch a Hallmark movie.
You can see how the differences could potentially cause issues….and it did for many years.
Until we discovered that it’s ok that we are different!
God created each of us uniquely in His image. Learning how to appreciate our spouse’s unique qualities and loving them for them, allows us to see them the way God sees them. It also brings peace in the marriage.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
I used to see my husband’s need to have 40-50 of his closest friends (that is NOT an exaggeration!) almost every weekend.
That was not my idea of fun! In fact, it was exhausting for me.
He wanted people over all the time, I would rather never have anyone over.
Having people over equalled work for me, because everything needed to be perfect.
As we began learning more about each other, we realized we both had to adjust.
Now we have people over, but not all the time. And when we do, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Sometimes he wants to go out and I don’t.
If that’s the case he’ll go with a friend, and I’m totally ok with that!
We are learning to appreciate the way the other is wired, which has produced a ton of peace in our marriage.
Discover Your Love Language
Did you know that we don’t all receive love the same way?
Although this was a huge surprise to me, it did make sense.
When I would clean up the house or do the laundry I would be hurt by my husband not going over and beyond to thank me and tell me how much he appreciated what I had done.
After reading Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages, I quickly realized my love language is acts of service.
I also began to understand that we often try to love others the way we want to be loved.
Many times when we tell our spouse that we don’t feel loved, it’s not always because they aren’t showing it.
It may just be that they aren’t showing it the way we need it.
The Love Language Quiz is another tool we used at the life planning even to help couples communicate better with their spouse.
Let’s take a look at the 5 Love Languages:
- Acts of Service: Someone with this love language likes for people to do practical things for them.
- Example: Making them their favorite meal, cleaning up the house for them, washing their car (anything that would be a service to them)
- Quality Time: This love language involves spending uninterrupted time together.
- Example: dinner out by yourselves, watching a movie together, taking a ride in the car (the key here is to spend quality time together)
- Words of Affirmation: If this is your love language, you love for people to encourage you through words (spoken or written).
- Example: a handwritten letter, a text message, a phone call, anything for encouragement
- Gift Giving: Someone with this love languages loves to give and receive gifts.
- Example: picking up their favorite drink or food, a flower to say I love you, something small just to say hi. (This doesn’t require something big. One of the keys with this love language, is communicating you were thinking of them by giving them something they like)
- Physical Touch: This love language involves any kind of physical touch (not just intimacy).
- Example: hand holding, scratching their back, rubbing their shoulders, massages, etc.
When you understand how your spouse needs to be loved, you can communicate it to them in a way that makes them feel loved.
Know how You Process
Another issue that can help to better the communication in marriage is understanding how each person processes information.
My husband is an external processor and can process information at lightening speed.
He gathers his thoughts aloud and can communicate them really quickly.
Because of that, he can often expect that I can do the same thing.
I am an internal processor and need time to think through the information before responding.
Again, you can see how this could be a problem in how we communicate.
When he’s talking and processing outloud, I’m inwardly processing and thinking through what he’s saying.
If I don’t respond quickly, he thinks I’m rejecting his idea or if it’s a “heated discussion” he thinks that I’m reclusing.
The truth is….I’m processing, but at a slower pace.
Knowing this has been crucial in our marriage.
We’ve learned to be intentional with allowing each other to process the way we need to.
I’ve been getting better at verbally telling him, “I need some time to think about this.” or “Give me a few minutes. I’m not ignoring you, I’m just processing.”
He’s been better at saying, “I know you need some time to think about this.”
How do you process? How does your spouse process?
This is a great discussion to have when you are spending time together. The better you both understand how each of you processes, the better your communication will be!
Understanding how your spouse is wired, what their love language is and how they process can do wonders for the communication in your marriage!
If you have a question about how to use these tools or have more ways to communicate better with your spouse, leave me a message in the comments below!