The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the last day, let him speak good or else keep silent.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
The way that married couples interact with each other is an excellent predictor of whether or not the marriage will last the test of time. Communication skills are the way couples not only interact but also react to each other. If the communication skills in your marriage are poor then it is more than likely that you have unresolved issues weighing heavily on your marriage. These issues will never get resolved by themselves. They will eat away at your marriage like a hungry caterpillar munching on a crispy green leaf! By mastering the art of communication, and teaching your husband to do the same, there will be complete transparency in your marriage. Arm yourselves with the knowledge to communicate effectively and you can sweep all of those mixed messages, hidden meanings and bottled-up feelings under the carpet where they belong!
Be a GREAT listener
It’s easy to talk but sometimes hard to listen. Sometimes it is crucial for you to just zip your lips and quietly listen to your spouse’s viewpoint no matter how painful it may be. “I think the key to attaining successful communication in my marriage is that we both listen to each other. Instead of getting mad when we hear something that we don’t like we talk about it and ask if that is what the other person means,” shares Fatimah Holland ElAila who resides in Charlotte, NC and has been married for just over two years. “Mastering marital communication is different for every couple. I would say listen to the other person. Know what they like, what they dislike, when they like to talk and when they don’t. The key to having good communication is paying attention to the other person so that you can know how to talk to them and how they communicate,” she adds.
Honesty as a rule of thumb
Dishonesty is a ‘deal breaker’ that can put even what appears to be a strong marriage into jeopardy. Trust cannot thrive in an environment of lying and deceit. Both partners need to commit to being honest at all costs even if it may be at the expensive of their feelings at one point or another. “We are always honest with each other. If there is something that I don’t like or he doesn’t like then we tell each other even if it hurts us both to do so. After that we can talk about what we would prefer, what would help us, etc. We also try to make sure that we spend ‘quality’ time together to have time to talk and feel close. Even if we only have 10 minutes we try to make the most of it,” shares Fatimah.
Control your facial expressions
Even though you may have perfected the listening technique, do you often find that you roll your eyes or mush up your face in annoyance when you feel your spouse is not hearing you? Perhaps even he does the same? Granted this is something we learned in Kindergarten Class when the other kid refused to share the crayons! However, this behavior is unacceptable in marriage. Showing your anger or ridicule through your facial expressions, while your mouth remains silent, is a surefire way to turn a normal encounter into an angry outburst at the slightest twitch of your face. “You should be able to express yourself with facial expressions that are peaceful. Calm facial expressions are what it takes to let the discussion, sharing, views and debate go on in a calm environment,” shares Aasiya Nadeem who resides in Japan and has been married for 3 and a half years, “Speaking when my facial expressions and hand gestures are at peace allows me to get my point across to my husband a lot better without causing his eyes to fill with stubbornness. When I am calm I can see that his eyes reflect rational and logic.”
Check Your anger at the door
The moment either spouse allows anger to enter into a situation where you are trying to communicate all bets are off. Once the tempers flare spouses often stop listening to each other and might begin to engage in destructive verbal diatribes against the other spouse. When trying to communicate with your husband and you feel the communication is heating up in anger, have the courage to step back and admit that the conversation should be saved for a time when both of you have cooled down. Remove yourself from the conversation even if it means you have to retreat to your bedroom or even have to leave the house to walk off some steam around the block. “Anger has never worked in our marriage. It is better to talk about it and find out why you feel that way instead of fight about it,” shares Fatimah.
“Never allow your ego stand in the way of showing your remorse. Don’t hesitate to say sorry for the smallest of things even when you know you are not at fault. Allah has brought you together in a beautiful bond, not a battlefield where one side wins and the other side loses,” advises Aasiya.
Developing successful communication skills in marriage is not something that happens overnight. It takes time and requires the commitment of both spouses on a continuous basis. There is no room for big heads or egos in a marriage. Both spouses must come to the table and stand in front of each in utter vulnerability. After all, you each hold every ounce of the other person’s love and devotion in the palm of your hands. Treat this blessed trust with the delicacy it deserves.