1. Choose the right time to communicate with your spouse. Your subject may be well-taken, but your timing may be off. If you have something personal from levels one or two to share, donít unload just as a man walks in the door after spending a hectic day at the office and forty-five minutes on the freeway. If you want to talk with your wife about cutting down on food expenses, donít begin just as she is serving a meal over which she as slaved. Select a time when your mate can respond pleasantly.
2. Develop a pleasant tone of voice. It isnít always what you say, but how you say it that counts. It is soothing to be around someone with a soft, calm voice. If you want your mate to enjoy the sound of your voice, make sure you are easy to listen to.
3. Be clear and specific. Many misunderstandings arise from muddled talk. Try to think as you speak, and state clearly what you mean. Couples can solve the problem of muddled communication by making ďa statement of intent.Ē For example, ďI would like to invite the Browns over for dinner Sunday. Do you mind?Ē
4. Be positive. In many homes 80 percent of all communication is negative. These families become so used to hearing faultfinding, blaming, judging, and name-calling, and other negative elements that such behavior becomes normal. Be less negative and more positive and appreciative.
5. Be courteous and respectful of your mateís opinion. You can do this even when you donít agree. Care as much about his comfort as you do about your own. And be willing to listen. No more than 50 percent of your communication should be spent with your talking.
6. Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of your mate. Develop patience and sensitivity in responding to what your mate says. If he hurts, you can understand his hurt and even hurt with him. Tune into the needs and feelings of fear, anger, despair, and anxiety of your loved one. Likewise, if he is happy over a new development, enjoy his happiness with him.
7. Develop the art of conversation. A recent study conducted at Cornell University showed that the more time husbands and wives spend talking with each other, the more likely they are to report a high level of marital satisfaction. Happier husbands and wives just naturally have more to say to one another than miserable ones. Conversation is an art, and opportunities to develop it should be encouraged. Discussion on interesting subjects enriches a relationship.