Communication is the key to any relationship, most of all a marriage.
When two adults from different upbringings and backgrounds come together to form a family, the going gets tough after the initial euphoria wears off.
Love and attraction may have glossed over the relationship in the early days, hiding flaws and imperfections under it. Once this veil is lifted, they begin to see and experience each other in a new light. The only way couples can understand and get along with each other is through good communication.
Communication in a marriage is not just about sitting down and talking it through whenever there is a clash of ideas or opinions. Of course, this is good and desirable but good communication in marriage needs to be considered as a part of the habit and lifestyle rather than as a method to patch up the differences.
Making good communication a priority is the need of the hour. Besides practicing the basics of good communication with an open heart and honest discussions, you can consider getting help from communication exercises. Communication activities for married couples are specifically designed for this purpose and hence very effective.
There is no need to wait for the breakdown of communication to begin working on it. Young married couples can adopt couples’ communication exercises right from the beginning. This can go a long way in building trust and understanding feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
This article offers some of the tried-and-tested communication exercises couples can adopt with ease.
Why are communication exercises essential for married couples?
Many married couples consider their communication good enough as long as they are talking to each other and conveying their ideas and needs. But it matters what level of communication exists in the marriage.
If you are unable to fully open up and communicate effectively about everything you want to, it is not good enough to survive in the long run. Good communication is not just about saying what you want to say in a way that is agreeable to your partner. It is also about listening and non-verbal communication.
Giving each other undivided attention, completely understanding and absorbing what the partner is saying, and the ability to hear what is unsaid and read body language are part of good couples’ communication.
All these communication skills couples can use to gain a better understanding of each other and build trust so that you know what is going on in the life of your partner without them having to spell it out.
The couples communication exercises pdf is full of exercises that will help you and your partner communicate your feelings comfortably. These exercises are not only beneficial for couples but can also be used by families or friends!
Effective communication activities for married couples
You need not wait for confusion, misunderstandings, and disagreements to crop up before taking action. In case you let it slide and your marriage is not in the pink of health, again, you can use these same exercises to remedy the situation.
You find so many suggestions for improving communication among married couples in books and online. They will work if you approach them with the right attitude. An open mind, readiness to change, and a positive approach are essential for success.
You need not approach a marriage counselor if you think the problem is manageable. You can do these exercises in the comfort of your own home without getting a therapist involved. However, if you see no improvement or if you feel the situation is worsening, you may have to approach a couples’ counselor.
1. Listening exercise
Everyone wants to be heard and this requires others to listen. Trying to change others is a wasteful exercise. Bring about the change in yourself and this will act as inspiration for others to change. This means developing better listening skills.
Listening is different from hearing. The first step in the right direction is to understand the difference. Keeping away distractions like phones and TV is helpful. Learn to listen without interrupting.
This exercise involves allocating both partners 3-5 minutes to talk about anything they want. The partner has to listen and paraphrase at the end of the session. After both partners have finished their turns, it is recommended to discuss what was said.
Listening silently can improve your skill for reading non-verbal clues.
2. “I” statements
Blaming each other is one of the major reasons for the breakdown of communication and the marriage itself. The word most featured while blaming is “you”. This exercise is meant to reverse the damage caused by such accusations.
With “I” statements, you can talk about your own feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Even if you are referring to the same incident, instead of blaming your partner for doing something, it is productive to convey how their action made you feel.
You may practice “I” statements in a real-life context or do it as an exercise. In real-life situations, whenever you feel the urge to blame, avoid “you” and switch to “I”. If you are doing this as an exercise, give each other 3-5 minutes to make “I” statements. Paraphrase, take turns, and discuss your feelings and thoughts.
3. Recreate fireside chats
President Roosevelt made fireside chats famous. The idea is to set up a cozy, comfortable, safe environment that will help the other person relax. The same tactic can work wonders in any relationship.
This involves identifying a safe and comfortable place and sitting down with your partner for a friendly chat. It is better to plan it and fix a time that is convenient to both.
Make sure that when your partner is talking, you are listening with undivided attention. Eye contact is most important for good communication.
4. Best and worst of the day
This is a daily exercise that can be included in your daily life. At the end of the day set aside enough time to have a chat with your partner. You need to talk about your highs and lows of the day and how they made you feel and how you are tackling them.
This immensely aids communication among couples besides helping each other know what is happening in the lives of the other. Partners are recommended to offer each other help to tackle unfavorable events. Partners can also express their delight and share happiness about desirable experiences.
It also gives both of them the opportunity for self-reflection and to gain clarity on the day’s happenings.
5. Repeat that, please
When you are disagreeing or arguing with your partner, you would adopt any tactic to gain the upper hand. All you want is to win at all costs, even if it means insulting or hurting your partner. This exercise is meant to take the sting out of this scenario.
When your partner says something hurtful, you can ask them to repeat it. Your request may get your partner to reconsider the statement. Often, hurtful words are said without thinking and when you look back, you regret saying it. Asking to repeat the statement will allow your partner to rephrase it in a less hurtful manner, change their views or even apologize.
This communication exercise is aimed to teach yourself and your partner ways to express your thoughts and feelings lovingly avoiding the confrontational approach.
What are the effective communication activities you have ever tried?
There are many more exercises couples can try to improve their communication skills. The five activities described in this article are the simplest of them all and the easiest to work into your daily life.
You can practice these exercises right from the beginning of your life together so that your bond remains strong and healthy.
Do you want to improve your relationship? Communication Activities provides couples with a variety of exercises to help them communicate better. Download couple communication worksheets today!