Q: My wife doesn’t communicate well with me. I work long hours and when I get home I want her to fill me in on what is going on in the family. I try to make time so we can talk about any issues but she always just tells me everything is fine and then I find out later things that I never knew about. How can I improve our communication with each other?
A: In many cases, it’s the other way around—the wife wants a deeper connection while the husband is uncommunicative. But in either case, the frustrations are very real.
To encourage more meaningful communication, ask your wife if she’d be willing to try the “Ten Minute Plan.” Three times a week you’ll spend four minutes reading a recommended marriage book together. After that, take four additional minutes to have a positive discussion about what you’ve read (no criticism allowed). Then, finish with a two-minute word of affirmation.
In addition to trying the Ten-Minute Plan, keep the following in mind:
- Communicate your need for conversation in a clear, respectful, and honest way. Don’t assume your wife knows what you’re thinking.
- Be sure to take notice when your wife does make an effort to talk with you. Reinforce this behaviour by expressing your appreciation with sincerity and kindness.
- Look for opportunities to turn routine activities–shopping, cooking, or gardening, for example–into times of meaningful conversation.
- Maintain a sense of humour about the unexpected challenges that may arise during the course of your conversations. Be patient and persistent.
By employing these ideas, you’ll create an environment where it becomes comfortable to talk. This, in turn, can easily lead to a desire for more interaction and even more minutes together.
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