Healthy communication lies at the root of any successful relationship. In marriage, this is even more of a necessity. Like our muscles, our communication skills also need to be worked out. There are practices we can make part of our regular routines that will strengthen communication in our marriage. Here are four communication exercises for married couples.
Exercise #1: The Weekly Meeting
If your marriage is like mine, you’re busy. You both have schedules, and your kids have schedules… I think my kids’ schedules are often busier than mine. This exercise is excellent to carve out time to focus on your marriage intentionally.
Set aside a non-negotiable chunk of time (30 minutes is a good starting point) when you will have no distractions. No phones, no tablets, no television, no kids. This time is for you to discuss your relationship and check in on your marriage’s health.
So what do you talk about? Start here:
How are we doing as a couple?
Is there anything we need to finish addressing from this week?
How can I make you feel more loved and appreciated?
You don’t have to stop here. These questions are just ideas to get you started.
The purpose of this exercise is to focus on your partner and remove distractions. To begin, sit facing each other, touching foreheads. Tilt your chins down, so you don’t bump noses.
Breathe at least seven deep breaths. Try to breathe slowly and in sync. As you get the hang of this exercise, you may choose to do more breaths or focus on breathing for a set amount of time. It’s all about connecting and focusing on one another.
When you need to slow down and refocus, this is a great practice. Once you have refocused on one another, take the time to talk about how your marriage is doing.
This exercise is ideal for clearing your minds and having a healthy conversation.
Exercise #3: Can I Get A Hand?
Often in marriage, misunderstandings come from not sharing our needs. Your spouse is not a mind reader, so it’s vital to communicate your needs clearly and effectively. This exercise will help.
In this exercise, you’ll both be working toward a common goal. Each person will place a hand behind their back, and together you’ll try to do a simple task such as buttoning a shirt, pouring a cup of coffee, or any other task around the house. Be as clear as possible in communicating with each other to accomplish the task together.
This was a pretty enlightening experience for me. We had some really good laughs AND I learned there were some things I could do to communicate more clearly with my wife.
Exercise #4: Active Listening
This exercise focuses on verbal and nonverbal communication.
Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. One spouse communicates whatever they are feeling or thinking, uninterrupted. The other spouse listens and communicates nonverbally. When the timer goes off, both of you discuss the experience.
Then switch roles and practice again.
These are just a few exercises you can practice to increase communication in your marriage. Healthy communication plays an essential role in any thriving relationship. Make exercising your communication muscles a priority in your marriage and take it to the next level.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
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