- Taking the time to create good communication and a strong marriage
- Being gracious with yourself and your spouse
- Communication issues doesn’t just have to mean conflict
- Create your marriage for the moment
The following is a full transcript of a Facebook Live, where Susie is speaking extemporaneously – she is unscripted and unedited.
Hey friends, happy Monday. Are you having a love, hate relationship with technology these days, man? I sure am. I just tried to start a live and it kicked me off. So let’s try this again. Today I want to talk to you about some communication tips in marriage. It is #marriagemonday. And so every Monday I’m going to show up, well, at least this next couple of Mondays, I’m trying to figure out my schedule here, but on Mondays, either live or on my post or in my blog, I’d talk about marriage. Because better relationships with God, yourself, and others of course includes your better relationships in marriage. And that is so important. And right now with this Corona crisis going on, so many people I talked to are having trouble in their marriages. Even the strongest of marriages are struggling. I just want you to hear that again.
It doesn’t mean something’s terribly wrong with your marriage. If you are having some tense moments and eye-rolling, and I just want to pinch him or her moments with your spouse in this Corona crisis, we are dealing with a whole new level of stress, a whole new level of struggle, a whole new level of tension, and even the strongest of marriage are struggling. If you’re don’t have a strong marriage coming into this crisis, then you’re struggling even more. And what I want to say to you is this. If you can take things that don’t have to be dealt with right now and put them off to the side, put them in a box, literally write them down, put them in a box or metaphorically, put them in a box, put that box on the shelf and save them for later. Now is not the time to deal with the fact that your husband didn’t clean up the garage or that he, you know, always treats your mother in a certain way, because that’s not what’s going on right now.
What’s going on right now. It’s how do we live together? Well in this place, how do we take this time and create good communication and a strong marriage. And I was teaching on this the other day, and I talked about bookending this time and talk about marriage for this moment. There’s things you’re going to want to deal with that happened beforehand, or that are creeping up on, on the now. And that may be part of what’s fueling you in terms of getting angry. Here’s an example. John had said something to me the other day and he had a tone of voice that really kind of rubbed me the wrong way. And I was wanting to look at him and go, you always have that tone of voice, years ago We’ve been talking about, and I thought, okay, wait a minute. This is not the time to bring up all the old stuff I could just say to him.
Hey, that tone of voice is hard for me. That tone of voice shuts me down. That tone of voice makes me feel, well It doesn’t make me feel. when you use that tone of voice, I feel. Notice the shift there. He doesn’t make me feel anything, but when he does this or uses that tone of voice, I then feel either put down or talked down to. And so I addressed it in the moment, again, marriage for this moment versus the whole kitten caboodle of every other time you’ve used that tone, or we’ve been struggling this with this for years or whatever it is that we want to bring into the moment that isn’t helpful. So tip number one, create a marriage for this moment, take the stuff you can and that you can leave for later the stuff from the past, leave it for later, put it in a box, and don’t deal with everything right now. It’s kind of like if you’re home with your kiddos and trying to do work and parenting and house and office and all the things, it’s not the time to be hard on yourself for not cleaning up a room or not staying on top of certain projects.
I just wanted to give you permission. I feel like I just want to pass out permission to everybody to be much easier and much more gracious with yourself. And so in this time gracious with yourself, gracious with your spouse. So tip number one, marriage for this moment, what do we have to deal with now? And one of the things we’re always having to deal with is communication, better communication that connects us versus divides us. Now, a lot of people it’s interesting, use communication issues. What I would say that’s for conflicts. So let’s say we are having communication issues, which to me means there’s conflicts going on, but people don’t talk about it that way. So if, when I say communication issues, do you think of conflict? If you think of conflict, give me a conflict in the comments. So I know I’m kind of your languaging.
So I’m talking about what you need to hear because I don’t always use, when I talk about communication, I’m talking about all kinds of communication, not just conflict, but what I’ve heard from a lot of people is that they’re having conflict communication issues. And what they mean by that is we’re having conflict. Hey Lauren, thanks for joining in. Hey, Bridget. So good to see you. I’m going to say hi here for a minute and I’m loving that you’re joining me live, but let me get to this content and then I’ll come back to the end and say hi to the rest of the folks and then answer any questions if I can. So the first question I have for you is do, when you say I’m having communication issues, are those conflict issues or are those, I don’t know how to share certain things that might cause conflict, or we just don’t talk about anything.
Well, so pop in the comments below what you mean when you say or what you think of. When I say communication issues. To me, communicating is across the board. I need to share feelings, thoughts, ideas we need to express our, you know hopes and dreams, all that’s communication. Sometimes that leads to conflict. Sometimes that gets hard. Sometimes that gets squirrely. And to me, that’s conflict. And I don’t think conflict’s bad. I think healthy conflict and being able to have healthy conflict is such an important part of a strong marriage. And that’s again, post for another day, I’m working on a course on unhealthy conflict in marriage because I really feel like if we can learn to do that hard stuff well, we then can build a stronger connection. So here’s the tip I have for you today in terms of, well, a couple of tips, the first one, remember marriage for the moment.
What do I need to do in this really crazy season to create a connection with this person that I love? Couldn’t wait to spend my whole life with all those things. Remember that person because that’s really important. So tip number one, create your marriage for the moment. Tip number two in the communicating. Think about this. Think about the timing of your communication. Think about the timing. And I mentioned tone earlier with John going to talk about that next, the timing of communication, especially if it’s something hard. If you’re going to sit down and talk about how to navigate the schedule for the day or, the stuff that has to be done with the kids or things that are difficult between you, things that are bothering you, things that are hurt feelings, you want to be aware of the timing of that conversation. I tend to want to talk about things the minute they come up, whenever they’re bothering me in the moment right now, you know, let’s just have it out.
No surprise. John isn’t wired that way at all. John is, you know, there’s certain times when he’s very focused on what he’s doing and it takes more energy for him to come into a conversation because he’s not as big on communication as I am now. What’s interesting is we were on a podcast this last week. We were interviewed together and we were sitting there and he was talking with this couple it’s called power couples by design. And the podcast episode will be out later this month. Nope, later this spring. So May or June, I’ll let you know when, but he was talking about what is one of the most important things that has helped us create a strong, connected long-term marriage. And he said, learning to communicate and I, you know, did the happy dance, woo I’m finally getting through to him.
He talked about how, when he was growing up, that wasn’t something that they did a lot communicate about, hopes, dreams, hard things. Talk about things in the moment, address things. So they, things would just get built up under the rug when they didn’t talk about them. And I was so excited to hear this because this is the drum I beat. This is my part of my life’s work is teaching people to communicate effectively. So timing is really important. Think about the best time for you and your spouse to have a conversation about something that’s hard about something that might not be just, Hey, let’s talk about what you want for dinner. I mean, I hope that’s not a hard conversation in your house, but you know the stuff that you have to sit down and sort through when you have to sit down and sort through something, it’s a conversation, it’s something that we have to talk about.
And so one of the things that I have helped both in our marriage has helped our marriage, but help lots of clients do is this idea of thinking through the timing. And two things can happen with that. one, You think through, when do I like to talk about things? When does he, or she like to talk about things? What is their best time? What is their best hour? Usually we end up having these conversations after the kids are in bed when we’re both exhausted and nobody has any emotional margin to deal with the hard stuff. So I’m going to recommend you don’t have these conversations, you know, right before bedtime. Cause then they can get escalated. You don’t have a lot of margins. You go to bed angry. That’s just so discouraging. So that’s not, rarely if ever a good time to talk about hard things unless you’re night owls and you’ve got, you know, time to talk and then hours to be together afterward.
Really important to think that through. So you’re not tense when it comes to talking about the hard stuff. So one of the things I have learned to do is think about when is his best time to talk. So when does your spouse’s best time to talk is in the morning. And right now we have the luxury of lunch together, you know, lunchtime together or being home together all day. So you could say, you know, you know, I I’m thinking that maybe we should have this conversation at lunch or linger over breakfast and coffee. And I’m not saying that it has to be every day you’re doing this, but you might say, you know what, honey, there’s some stuff I want to talk about. And I’m wondering when is a good time for you to talk about it? Most men are going to go, never don’t let them off the hook with that.
Some women will go never can we just avoid it? That’s never a good idea. Cause then it just builds up under the rug and you don’t deal with it. So you can say, we need to talk about this and when’s a good time for you. And I would tell them what that this is, you know, I want to talk about, you know, juggling kids schedules differently for John. And I want to talk about this tone of voice that you talk to me. And sometimes that really throws me and it hurts my feelings. I want to talk about, you know, some, some questions I have about future plans for us, whatever I want to talk about our finances, whatever you want to talk about, let this person know what it is you want to talk about. And then when is a good time to talk about it for them, let them answer.
You know, tomorrow at breakfast, tomorrow at lunch, you know, instead of watching a TV show, can we do it after dinner? Put the kiddos in their room and have some talk time, have some us time. So timing in two ways is really important. It’s important that you think about when you can talk about it in terms of when you both have energy and you both have some level of focus and margin and then give them the topic ahead of time. So, you know, they can think about it so you can think about it. So you’re not blindsiding them. A lot of people that, you know, process a little bit are internal processors and really need to think through what they want to say. So you might say, I want to talk about let’s do the, let’s do the kids’ schedule. I want to talk about how we’re going to juggle the kids with us, both being, working from home.
You know, I have these couple things coming up and I need some help. You know, those kinds of things are what I want to discuss. That gives your spouse time to think about what they want to say, what their thoughts are about a certain topic. And so if you can think in terms of timing, timing the conversation is really important. And then I want to go to tone, just watch your tone of voice. Just be aware of what I say in this tone of voice to somebody I love one, you know, cared about because you do love and care about your spouse. You do love and care about them. But sometimes, honestly, folks, they get the worst of us. They certainly get the best of us, but they get the worst of us. So pause for a minute and think, what is my tone communicating, for example, I want to talk about this.
That’s very expressive in the words. I want to talk about this, but there’s a lot of tone behind that. Every man I ever know, knows this tone, I’m fine. The words don’t say, I’m fine, but the tone says, I am not fine. So just be aware of your tone when you talk with your spouse about these hard things, tone is really important because you need to remember that the words say one thing, but your tone may be saying another. So watch your tone and think through how do I want them to feel as I am sharing this? How do I want to best express this? I don’t want to sound angry. I want to sound like again, we’re on the same team coming alongside each other, looking at this issue that we have to solve. So folks timing and tone. Those are two of the most important things in conversations that can help you.
One of the things we’ve learned to do when tone gets bad is say, Hey, that tone, you know, came across a little angry, or that tone came across a little exasperated. Can you kind of re-frame that? Can you say that again? Can you help me understand? Are you mad or are you feeling frustrated or are you feeling helpless? What’s going on? Because the tone is really angry or the tone is really impatient. If you can name the tone in the moment that helps now, that sounds really great. It doesn’t always go that well in practice theories. One thing practice is another, but remember this, you could always have a timeout and you can always go, hold on. This, isn’t going well, let’s pause the conversation. Let’s pick it up another time when we both were at a place where we can have a good conversation, sometimes it helps to write out what your thoughts are.
Sometimes it helps to invite your spouse to write out what their thoughts are and kind of get out of the tension of the moment. So those are a couple of tips that I think will really help you. It’s certainly helped me. It’s helped my husband who doesn’t really think communicate, you know, came into our marriage with really different communication skills and thoughts than I did. We have learned to communicate well as a result of using these two, along with a ton of other tips, but especially timing and tone that will give your spouse the ability to have a conversation when it’s best for them. What’s best for both of you. You know, if your best time is in the morning, his best times in the afternoon, you’re going to have to compromise. But isn’t that most of what marriage is, is, is learning to navigate those things together.
And then watching your tone as you talk about it, whoops, let me go back in the timing, tell them what you want to talk about it about. So they have time to think about and process and come up with some thoughts and feelings on their own. So they bring that to the conversation. So there’s not this surprise. I didn’t answer right now that doesn’t go well. Alright, timing and tone will really help you take care of this relationship and build better communication with this person that you love your spouse, this person that you couldn’t wait to spend your whole life with. And that you’re trying to build a strong, connected marriage with. Questions? pop them in the comments. Let me know if there’s things specific to marriage that you want me to talk about. PM me, email me, let me know, pop them in the comments and I will address them in these marriage Mondays in blog posts in upcoming videos. Thanks so much for joining me. I hope you have a fabulous day. And if you use these tips, I would love to hear from you to know how timing and tone made a difference in you having a positive or even maybe just a little better conversation than the last time. Have a great day. And I’ll talk to you tomorrow.