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It’s hard to communicate when the other person simply doesn’t ‘get’ you. You’re talking about one thing, and he’s talking about something different and missing your point completely.
Misunderstandings happen, but when they happen all the time, there’s a problem with the way you and your husband are communicating, and you should start working on it before it causes any more issues.
If your husband misinterprets everything you say and this is causing you to feel stressed or annoyed, try some of the following tips to improve the way you communicate with one another.
1. Actively listen to each other.
The most important step in avoiding misunderstandings is active listening. This means removing any distractions, looking at your partner as you speak to one another, and hearing each word and it’s context rather than developing your response in your head whilst they are still speaking.
Active listening sounds simple but requires a lot of practice. We’re all conditioned to interrupt others as they speak, to listen to our own voices inside our heads instead of what the other person is saying, and to frame everything that is being said as if we are the most important actor in the situation.
To truly listen to someone is not what we are used to, but when we do, it can help to avoid so much confusion and crossed wires.
So get your husband to learn what it means to actively listen, and then both engage in it whenever you are talking.
2. Be specific about what you want and how you feel.
Don’t be vague if you want your husband to understand you and the requests you make. If you want him to do something, make it absolutely clear what that thing is. Don’t give long explanations of why you want it doing if that detail is not relevant – it will only increase the chances of him misinterpreting what you are saying. Just make your request in as few words as possible.
And don’t expect him to understand the way you feel if you don’t tell him. Talk about your feelings and help him by being specific. If something he did made you feel bad, don’t keep quiet about it and let your resentment for him grow. Communicate your feelings and help your husband understand how your mind works and what effect certain actions have on you.
Sure, you’d prefer if he’d instinctively know these things, but don’t expect that level of empathy. Don’t leave him guessing. Let him know how you feel and explain things from your point of view.
3. Don’t expect him to read your mind.
Maybe you expect your husband to know things that he can’t possibly know. You’ve known each other for a long time, and he should have an idea about how your mind works, but he can’t possibly read it.
Women sometimes speak in riddles and expect men to know the right thing to say based on nonverbal cues that men sometimes don’t even notice. Not everyone is great at reading between the lines and catching all those cues.
So, if your husband wants to make you happy but doesn’t know how, make things easier for him. When you are mad, you might be tempted to just get even madder when he doesn’t seem to ‘get’ you, but don’t. But if he’s trying to understand you, help him do that by explaining yourself.
4. Don’t assume that you can read his mind.
Just like your husband can’t read your mind, you can’t read his either, and misunderstandings can happen when you assume that you can. Meaning, if you have too many expectations and assumptions about what your husband is going to say or do, you are probably going to feel let down when that doesn’t happen.
And no matter how predictable your partner can seem when you’ve been together for a long time, he still has a mind of his own and probably a few surprises left in him.
In addition, he goes through the day looking at the world from his own perspective, not yours. You don’t know every thought that goes through his head, and you would communicate more efficiently if fewer things were thought of as understood without them actually being discussed.
5. Use “I” statements.
Avoid pointing fingers when you’re discussing issues. Instead of making it all about him and the way something he did made you feel, focus on the feeling itself.
Don’t say something like, “You should have known what I meant and how your actions will make me feel when you do something entirely different” say something like, “I felt sad because I hoped you would know what I meant, even though I may not have explained it as best I could.”
The important thing is that you use “I” statements instead of “You” statements to avoid blaming your husband. Your approach shouldn’t be hostile and aggressive. If your husband feels like he has to defend himself from your verbal attacks, he won’t be able to communicate as efficiently as if you would have a peaceful conversation.
6. Help him understand that you’re not always looking for a solution.
When there’s a problem, men often look for the solution right away. Maybe your husband misinterprets what you are saying because he just wants to fix the problem and doesn’t understand that he’s helping simply by listening to you talk about it.
Maybe sometimes you just want to cry and wallow in self-pity because of a problem you’re dealing with. You’re not looking for someone to make the problem go away. You want someone to hold you, wipe your tears away, or cry about it with you.
That’s okay, but maybe your husband doesn’t understand how that could help you. Let him know that not every problem needs to be fixed, and sometimes you just need to process your emotions.
Men don’t always get that, so try to understand him more so that he can understand you better too.
7. Give up the need to be right all the time.
If your goal is to win every argument, you might be winning the battle, but you are losing the war.
You don’t have to be right all the time. No one is. So if this is what’s causing the problems with the communication in your marriage, work on it.
Yes, your husband should hear you out, but you should also listen to him without dismissing what he says just because he didn’t understand your side completely. You don’t have to prove him wrong to win. You both win whenever you resolve an argument and feel like a happy couple again.
Being right is not about winning, it’s about risking your marriage for the sake of your ego. So, learn to be okay with being proven wrong sometimes. Lay down your weapons and hear your husband’s side too. Your communication will improve, and there’ll be fewer misunderstandings. And that should be your goal, not to be in some way better than him.
8. Pay attention to your tone.
If your tone is hostile and threatening, your husband will get defensive and more likely to misinterpret your words.
The tone you use to shape the words you speak impacts how they’ll be received and understood. So, try to talk calmly and patiently. You can say the same thing to your husband with a hostile and a loving voice, and you’ll get two different responses.
Don’t raise your voice when you don’t have to, and don’t mock your husband for not understanding something. These things often happen in fights, so improve the way you argue by putting effort into maintaining a calm and loving tone. It’s not always possible, but it gives better results than yelling at each other could ever give.
9. Try to see things from his point of view.
Your husband and you see things from different perspectives, and this also means that you understand things differently and give importance to different things. While it might seem like your husband misinterprets everything you say when you look at it from your point of view, he could be saying things the way he understands them from his.
This shouldn’t be an issue, and with effective communication you can understand each other better. Just keep in mind that your husband will never actually see things the way you see them unless you explain them to him.
Sometimes you sync up and think the same, but you still look at the world with different eyes. So, remember this when there are misunderstandings so that you can react more calmly and have enough patience to better explain your wants and needs.
10. Work on your communication skills as a couple.
There are plenty of articles and books that you can read, videos that you can watch, and exercises you can do to improve your communication. As long as you are both willing to put some effort into it, you can achieve significant progress toward a more harmonious relationship.
If misunderstandings happen too often, that’s probably just a sign that you’re not communicating as well as you could be. On its own, this is not such a big problem, but it causes many other problems over time.
Healthy communication is the key to a happy marriage, so don’t take this subject lightly. Things aren’t going to improve on their own, and the more your communication improves, the easier and happier your relationship will feel.
11. Talk about your expectations.
It’s okay to have expectations as long as you communicate them clearly. Don’t expect anything that you haven’t talked about.
Yes, a lot of things can be implied, but when you assume that your husband knows about your expectations, misunderstandings happen, and you feel let down. So, talk about what you expect from him and let him tell you what he expects from you.
While it would be nice if the two of you could function as an amazing team without talking too much, that may be an unreasonable goal to aspire to. Clear communication, however, is something you can work toward with time, effort, and patience.
12. Take a break when you’re fighting.
Fights should have a pause button. Press this button when you’re fighting in order to communicate like a normal couple again.
This is especially useful for when the fight gets out of hand, and you end up simultaneously screaming about unrelated things. Fights like that are of no use, they just make you feel bad. When your fight is not constructive anymore, take a break. You can use the break to physically step away from one another for a while and cool down.
Misunderstandings often happen in fights when you’re not communicating properly because you’re too upset. Wait to calm down before discussing important things. It can still be a heated argument, you can just both be calm enough to properly explain your feelings and reasons why you’re upset.
13. Be patient enough to give an explanation.
When your husband doesn’t understand you, don’t just get mad at him and leave him without an explanation. Be patient enough to explain what he doesn’t understand. You might have to repeat yourself and make something that is obvious to you as obvious to him, but with time, this will only benefit your relationship.
Help your husband understand you by giving him explanations and encouraging him to ask follow-up questions. You won’t be always in the mood to do that, especially when you’re fighting, but even then it will be a good way to calm down and have a less heated argument.
14. Recognize each other differences.
Maybe your husband can’t understand your point of view because he doesn’t give importance to the same things you do. You might be upset about something that he thinks isn’t worth being upset about.
So, recognize each other differences and explain what is important to you and why. Ironically, your communication can only get better the more you communicate. So, talk about your differences and accept them. Learn what is important to your husband and what isn’t. Explain why he should give more importance to something you give importance to, or at least how he can understand where you’re coming from.
15. Talk to a relationship counselor.
You and your husband are probably going to need some help to communicate as well as you would like to, and there are people who can help you with that. Talk to a relationship counselor, and get more tips on how to improve your communication and avoid misunderstandings.
Don’t feel silly doing some communication exercises because everything takes practice, even talking. You may know how to communicate in principle, but is the communication in your marriage as healthy and effective as it should be?
With the help of a professional, you can get there, and ‘get’ each other better, so don’t hesitate to seek help and work on your marriage.
If this is something you’d be interested in, chat to one of the relationship experts from Relationship Hero. You and your husband can get that impartial third party viewpoint and guidance from the comfort of your own home and at a time to suit you. Simply click here to get started or to learn more.
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