A few years ago, I was having a discussion on Twitter about how well men communicate in relationships. I was convinced that men generally did not have a problem with communication. The person I was tweeting with disagreed. She told me that one of the main issues she dealt with in relationships with men, both personally and professionally, was their lack of communication skills. She believed that men had trouble communicating their feelings effectively.
After years of talking to men and women about this subject, I’ve come to accept that men do struggle a bit when it comes to opening up and sharing exactly what’s on their minds. However, it is possible for men to develop effective communication skills.
Being able to communicate with your mate is one of the keys to having a strong relationship. If you want to be a better communicator, start by doing these three things:
An effective communicator is always a good listener. Listen with your ears – hear what she’s telling you. You don’t always have to respond, just listen. Listen with your heart—discern the message within the message. Sometimes words are just a cover to say “you’re not hearing me” or “I don’t feel secure in this relationship” or a plethora of other messages. Tune in to your woman to hear her when she changes tone, pitch, cadence, body language, and mood. Listen with your mind. The most effective listeners are the ones who internalize what they hear, process the information, then speak or react. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Speak Your Feelings
Most men can state the obvious. “What are we having for dinner?”, “Can you hand me the remote?”, “Are the kids done with their homework?” We can ask those questions and have surface level conversations with ease. Where I have found men lack in verbal skills is sharing what they really feel. Being able to say, “I love you” or expressing your hopes, dreams, or disappointments is so important in a relationship because it builds trust. You must to be able to share what is really on your mind and not what sounds good in the moment.
Communicate Through Service
If you have difficulty communicating with your mate, I suggest reading The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Dr. Chapman talks about communicating through serving your partner. When I talk to men who are in danger of losing a relationship, they always regret not serving their mate better while the relationship was stronger. Be authentic in your service. Women know the difference when you are doing something because you feel forced and when you are doing something for them because you love them and want to do it. If you aren’t serving your mate from the kindness of your heart, try it for a month and watch your relationship and her attitude improve significantly.
Effective communication takes effort and commitment. It’s important to show your mate that you are dedicated to improving your relationship by communicating clearly and effectively. The payoff is a happy spouse and a stronger relationship.
Photo by Joelle Inge-Messerschmidt
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