People sometimes come up to me and say I am blest to have a successful relationship with my husband. Well, actually, the key is communication – which is a tall order because, like most men, my Boss Alvin is a man of few words. But I have learned to live with it and find ways to cope and come out victorious. I just try to live by my very own 10 Commandments of Communication in Marriage.
Yes, talk. Decide to talk. If your hubby is the type who is not very verbal, this is not a reason to also zip your lips. In fact, it should make you talk more. Start with talking about anything and everything. Gradually create the environment within which you can already talk about the things you’d rather not talk about. This is all a necessary part of the exercise to make your love grow stronger.
2. Listen more.
Listen not only to what is said but also to what is not said or what has been purposely left unsaid. And do not just listen to verbal messages but be sensitive also to non-verbal ways of communication. Be alert for creases in the forehead or between the eyebrows, uncharacteristic silences, and gestures that have significant meanings you may miss if you are not sensitive to your hubby’s emotional buttons.
3. Find new things about each other everyday.
Before you can communicate effectively, you must first know each other intimately well. Towards this end, it will be helpful to embark on a never-ending adventure of discovery of each other’s quirks and foibles, likes and dislikes, similarities and differences, what makes you cry and what makes you sing. The better you know each other, the more skillful you can be at expressing your love.
4. Invest in memories.
Don’t just chill or hang out. Do things together – go to events, visit interesting places, make a meaningful project, share a sport or hobby. The experiences make fertile the soil upon which the seeds of love may grow stronger. At the end of the day, memories are all you’ll have. The fabulous ones should always outnumber the not-so-good ones so that when problems strike, you can always withdraw hope and inspiration from your bank of fabulous memories.
5. Make a habit of giving surprises.
Gifts are more meaningful when given for no reason or season at all. It may not be material. It can be a love note tucked in the coat pocket, a visit in the workplace to share a snack, a neck massage or a foot spa after a long day. Or you may want to be extravagantly generous, sometimes – like what I did during one of Boss Alvin’s birthdays. I surprised him with a new car in our garage!
6. When tired or stressed, rest. Don’t quarrel.
Do not vent out your negativity on each other. Many marital spats are not caused by real problems; but by tiredness from the toils of the day. Of course, the ideal thing to do is to serve your spouse when you feel he or she is stressed — like squeeze some fruit and offer a glass of juice, or just leave him alone to chill. Yes, silence can also be a form of service!
7. Make room for God in your relationship.
The love you feel of each other is not a result of spontaneous combustion or something. It was placed in your heart by Him who created the two of you for each other. So, always have space for God – not only when there is a problem and you need Him to sort something out, but also when everything is going fine. Allow God to dance with you!
Hey, why are there only seven items here? Where are the 8th, 9th and 10th commandments? Well, improvise. Make your own. Find that which works best for you.