What If the Two of You Are Different? Dealing with Communication Barriers
My husband is hypersensitive about nagging. Before we got married, he begged me never to nag him.
“I know this couple where the wife can’t stop nagging her husband,” he said. “I feel sorry for him. Please promise me you won’t nag me."
Honestly, I didn’t even know what nagging was in Spanish, but Leon did his best to explain to me the horrid effects of repeatedly reminding your husband to do something. When I understood what he was saying, I pledged to do my best not to be a nagging wife.
But after nearly 28 years of marriage, let me tell you—that is easier said than done!
Breaking Through the Communication Barrier
Like many couples, my husband and I have different styles of communication. He came from a home where challenges were rarely faced, and his parents didn’t talk about pressing issues. In most cases, his father would retreat when there was something “delicate” that needed to be discussed.
I, on the other hand, came from a home with lots of fighting. My parents both dug into their own perspectives, trying to prove they were in the right.
In other words, one of us is naturally more inclined toward nagging than the other!
In your relationship, you and your partner both need to be heard and understood. One key to strengthening your relationship is allowing your significant other to express their thoughts without nagging them or being pushy. At the end of the day, the two of you don’t have to agree with each other on everything—you just need to listen.
How to Have a Great Conversation
Here are a few steps you can take to have a great conversation with your significant other, even when one of you is gently trying to “remind” the other about something important:
- Set aside time to talk. This communicates you are willing to engage and connect.
- Provide a safe place for the conversation, where your significant other feels welcome.
- Remember how God sees you and your partner. Many times conflicts escalate into intense and unhealthy arguments because couples forget their true identity.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to be part of your potentially difficult conversation by starting with prayer.
- Be thankful for at least one thing at the beginning of a deep conversation, and let the other person know what it is.
- Determine who is going to be the speaker and the listener. Frustration comes from two people trying to talk at the same time.
- Don’t talk when you feel hungry, angry, or tired. If you are sensing tension, take a break from the conversation and set a time to pick it up again later.
If you follow these practices in your conversations, you will be amazed at the positive changes you see in your relationship.