Positive body language and active listening can help couples to communicate more effectively.

How to Communicate Positively When Mending a Troubled Marriage

by Shannon Philpott

After years or even months of marriage, many find that the daily routine can put a damper on even the most healthy relationship. Household duties, obligations with children and work can make little time for couples to foster positive communication. If your marriage is troubled, communication could be the key to put your relationship on the mend. Learn how to positively discuss your likes, dislikes, needs and wants to revive the love you have for each other.

Make Communication a Priority

If your marriage is hanging on by a thread, it is possible that there are times when the two of you don’t even want to look at each other, much less communicate. However, mending a troubled marriage takes effort and hard work. Make your marriage a priority by scheduling time for one-on-one discussions, recommends Maud Purcell, a family therapist with PsychCentral.com. Instead of rehashing old arguments or expressing built-up anger, reserve these one-on-one sessions for discussions about your dreams, goals, interests and hobbies. Positively communicating about yourself will help your confidence soar and actively listening to your spouse will help you learn more about this person you chose to spend the rest of your life with.

Ask Questions

Launching a discussion with your spouse can be challenging when your marriage is troubled. However, conversation starters can keep the discussions positive. Pose positive, non-threatening questions to your spouse to show that you are interested in him and want to know how to make the marriage work. Questions such as “When do you feel most loved?” or “What is the best way for me to support or encourage you?” can bring about meaningful conversations, according to Robert and Pamela Crosby, authors of “Creative Conversation Starters for Couples.” Ask about your partner’s strengths, career goals and travel wishes so that the two of you can think about your future together in a committed marriage.

Keep Your Tone Light

It’s no secret that a defensive tone will only lead to a bitter or angry exchange. When conversing with your spouse, keep your tone positive, avoid crossing your arms and show positive body language, such as a gentle touch, agreeing nod or smile. If you use a demeaning or sarcastic tone, the conversation will only lead to even more division, according to the experts at Marriage Missions International. When the conversation starts to stray to negative words or angry outbursts, stop the interaction and schedule a time to try again. Set expectations for each discussion that include respectful behavior.

Listen Actively

A conversation with your spouse doesn’t have to always end with tears and angry outbursts. Typically, people lash out when they feel that their voice is not being heard. When communicating with your spouse, be a good listener by actively listening with your entire body. Avoid interrupting your partner when he is talking and wait your turn to respond. If you are a good listener, it encourages your spouse to share more with you on a daily basis, says Purcell. Active listening opens the door for even more positive communication in the future and when your marriage is troubled, it is even more important to listen to your spouse’s concerns.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images