The 5 Best Things to Say to Your Husband or Wife Do you speak the same language as your spouse? Here are five ways for each of you to get through. BY SHARON M. RIVKIN, M.A., M.F.T.
It's extremely important that you develop the skills to effectively communicate with your spouse.
“ Always be aware of your communication habits, and if something isnít resolved, resolve it as quickly as you can so resentments donít build up.”
Men and women are wired differently... and being wired differently means we speak different languages.
A woman's language involves rejuvenation through talking, processing, emoting, and dealing with issues immediately. A man's language includes no direct confrontation, taking action, solving problems, fixing things, feeling useful, and regrouping and rejuvenating via the newspaper or television. The earlier we realize these differences, the quicker we can develop good communication habits and build a strong marital foundation, and the more closeness weíll promote and maintain in our marriages.
5 Best Things to Say to Your Husband
1. "How was your day?" So many men I counsel complain that their wives arenít interested in their work or how their day really was. So itís important to ask and listen!
2. "Sure, you can watch football today." Itís all about compromise and understanding that theyíre not just watching football to avoid us; they enjoy it and are literally recharging their batteries. If you donít consider your partnerís needs, it will create distance in the relationship.
3. "I need your help solving a problem." Men want to feel useful and truly want to make us happy. Ask your husband to help you problem-solve to get practical solutions. However, try to get to the point as quickly as you can, i.e., donít give every detailÖ cut to the chase so heís present with you and understands what you need from him.
4. "Do you want to go out this weekend, just us two?" Let your husband know heís a priority even though youíre busy with the kids, your work, your activities, etc. You truly need to take the time with your husband to build closeness and intimacy. Donít ever take your husband or marriage for granted.
5. "I love you. Letís make love tonight." Trouble in marriages often starts in the bedroom. Make sure the lines of communication are open so that your sex life doesnít disappear. Always be aware of your communication habits, and if something isnít resolved, resolve it as quickly as you can so resentments donít build up.
5 Best Things to Say to Your Wife
1. "How was your day?" Itís just as important to ask her how her day was. Make sure you leave enough time to really have a conversation; otherwise, itís very superficial, not authentic, and will make her feel unimportant and not cared about.
2. "You look beautiful (or sexy)." Not just on special occasions, but give her a compliment daily. Women like to be told they look good and that their husbands still find them attractive. Itís a small gesture that goes a long way.
3. "Iíll do the dishes tonight." When a husband anticipates what a women needs, i.e., doing the dishes, vacuuming, getting a babysitter, doing the grocery shopping, filling the gas tankÖanything without being asked, it will make her feel cared about, loved, important, and a priority.
4. "How about if a take care of the kids tonight so you can spend time with your friends." This will let her know that you're paying attention to her needs and taking responsibility for the kids, so it all doesnít fall on her. It also gives her a sense of freedom and the knowing that you aren't threatened by her friends.
5. "Letís have a quiet evening at home, just the two of us." The intent of this statement would be to spend time with her that doesnít necessarily lead up to sex. In other words, maybe watch a movie or have some relaxing time together catching up and just being affectionate with one another.
By implementing the suggestions above, youíll be on the road to speaking your spouse's language and building a more intimate, connected, and lasting marriage.
Also known as the "last ditch effort therapist," Sharon M. Rivkin, therapist and conflict resolution/affairs expert, is the author of "Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy" and developer of the First Argument Technique, a 3-step system that helps couples fix their relationships and understand why they fight. Her work has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Reader's Digest, Time.com, Yahoo!News.com, WebMD.com, and DrLaura.com. Sharon has appeared on TV, was quoted on The Insider TV show, and makes regular radio appearances nationwide. She has also appeared on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio and is the "Resident Shrink" on Coach Ron Tunick's radio show, The Business of Life, on KKZZ 1400AM. For more information, please visit her website at www.sharonrivkin.com.