I’ve always thought of Marriage as a massive compromise. Sometimes we just can’t do the things that we’ve always done because it may hurt our significant other, and to move forward we have to find some level ground that we can both work together. Take for example my wife; she could never understand the amount of money I would let slip through my hands every day, and to watch me do it daily made her feel uncomfortable. We had to eventually seek a compromise, where I would only spend on certain things and she’d have to allow me that without judgement. It helped us move forward in our Marriage.
Men, we’re just the worst communicators out there. I believe that we mainly have good intentions and that we want to do well for this world but we approach it in entirely the wrong way. Sometimes our anger, frustration and shouting can be through an inibility to communicate our needs effectively and properly, and I think that it is largely to do with not being emotionally aware. I had to learn it. It wasn’t taught to me as a child either.
It’s about time we began to focus on how we communicated with each other in our Marriages, and I’m here to give you a few quick tips on how to begin this.
Stuck in a rut?
After three or so years of being Married, psychologists often say that these can be the most difficult times for a couple. The excitement has ebbed away, you both know each other inside out, and there’s little mystery left in the relationship. It can lead to an unhealthy stagnation, one where you both feel like you’re just going through the motions day by day, stuck in your routines, not really challenging life.
It can be hard to talk about with your partner but it’s something that needs to be communicated before either of you do something that you really can’t undo, like cheat, or break up. The idea is to try and mix up the excitement; laugh lots, be spontaneous, drop her love notes, tidy up after yourself, and more importantly listen to what she is looking for in you, just as she should listen to what you’re looking for in her.
Communication without fighting
Something I had to learn the hard way. My wife was always telling me to stop shouting at her when we were arguing. There are ways to solve a disagreement without shouting at one another. See, my Mum shouted at me when I was younger, it was how she would get her point across. Whilst there’s nothing wrong in shouting itself, it can spark off negative reactions in the receiver, for instance they could start shouting too, and that just isn’t conducive to solving a problem. I had to learn to look at the solutions and ways forward rather than focusing on, and getting stuck in what was wrong.
It’s hard though. Yeah, I get it, when we’re discussing topics that invoke an already hot topic in our minds it can fire us up ready to fight, to judge, and be judged. It can light up those fiery embers of raw anger.
The trick is to not make the receiver feel like they are being judged in any way. People are always looking out for threats, and if they see the slightest hint of a threat they will shut down. Think of the last time you and your partner had an argument. Did you just shut down? Or did you listen to what they had to say?
Think of it as as a lesson in communication. If I had spent too much on a new purchase and my partner didn’t like the idea. Would it help her if she told me, “You’re fucking spending too much again. Dickhead” or would she have more success saying, “I feel as if you’re not respecting me. I asked you to not spend as much, but you went and did it anyway” One scenario invites a conversation, the other totally shuts down the situation. Does that make sense?
I’ve always managed my own money. Not very well mind you, but it was always mine to do with as I pleased. Then when Natalie came into the equation is was difficult to adjust into a mindset where I had to be mindful of my expenditure because she is part of the family too. It was difficult to not just do as I pleased and spend what I wanted. It was tough at first to let go of the fact that I was in control of my own money — but I had to, because there was two of us and soon to be three of us now. Now that we are Married I can be legally responsible for her, and vice versa. There had to be some give and take with my money and keeping her up to date on how I was doing.
It really helped when we nearly went bankrupt. I felt no shame in being in this situation because she was there, every step of the way with me. I had no bombshell to drop on her, and she wasn’t cascaded into analysing how the hell we got into this mess in the first place. We both had access to our accounts and we were aware of our situations at every point in the relationship. There was no hiding purchases from her, no secret spending, and more importantly no surprises. Since we’ve been married I’ve always been open and honest with my wife on what I’m spending and where it’s going, as she is with me. Then we can discuss if there are any further issues.
People imagine communicating in Marriage with children as them barking the orders and the children listening, or, it was for me as a child. I’ve found that nothing can be further from the truth if you want your child to grow up with a strong sense of self. For me it’s all about letting my child think he is the one in control of his destiny, even although I’m there to guide him and to stop him from going off any cliffs.
To do so my partner and I need to work like a team and communicate our ideas and goals for him between us, so no parent is left sitting there like an idiot. Natalie and I have always worked as a unit; even when I think she’s wrong I’ll tell her in private away from Alex. The goal is to make him think that he can’t use one of us against the other because that can be more harmful than progressive. In my mind, whatever I plan to do with, or teach alex to do I always let Natalie know so if she wants she can add her own brand of awesomeness into the equation too, and vice versa. We need to communicate with each other constantly and keep each other up to date on our thoughts, feelings and emotions. It helps when a situation can get out of control and both parents are mindful of where each other are mentally and physically so we can compensate if need be.
Let’s be better
Let’s better our communication skills, men. Let’s move our reputation from – “oh, he was just a guy,” to, “he’s the love of my life”