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tips & tricks for growth
transform your communication
Communication in marriage isn’t some tricky thing that some people have, and some don’t. It’s a skill that you, me, and everyone else can practice and improve. Use these skills to transform the communication with your spouse…
1. Practice the art of listening well
Listening well means seeking to understand. It’s putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Seek to understand their point of view. And know that just because it’s not the same as yours doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.
2. Ask lots of questions
The ultimate goal of healthy communication in marriage is to connect. Be curious for the sake of knowing your husband or wife better and how you can strengthen your relationship.
3. Go deeper in your communication
Explore and appreciate the complexities of each other. Instead of having only shallow, transactional convos, start intentionally discussing feelings, opinions, shortcomings, goals, hopes, needs, past experiences, and future dreams.
when anxiety takes over, help the one you love
It helps to have a basic understanding of anxiety itself. Anxiety is actually a natural, normal process the brain goes through to help a person cope with stress. It causes an apprehension or fear of something to come, and this typically serves to protect a person from harm and danger.
However, this process is only made to come and go as needed. It’s not meant to pop up without warning and interfere with everyday life.
This unhealthy anxiety is ambiguous; it can feel differently depending on the person feeling it, and it reveals itself in a variety of ways. Many (like myself) feel panic attacks with no apparent reason. Others may experience a phobia of certain objects or activities. Some have an irrational fear of social situations or worry about their health.
Researchers can’t pinpoint an exact cause of this kind of anxiety. A mix of genetics, environmental factors, and brain chemistry seems to be likely, but this doesn’t exactly narrow it down. Therefore, there are a variety of ways professionals treat anxiety, from coping exercises such as deep breathing and other lifestyle changes to therapy and medication. (The Gottman Institute offers a great article here about using mindfulness to deal with difficult emotions like anxiety.)
This all can seem very complex to you, the spouse, who sees how anxiety is plaguing the one you love. And you might be wondering, what in the world could I ever do to help?