How to Clear Misunderstandings in a Marriage
Have you and your spouse stopped talking for some period of time because it is “just not worth the fight”? You talked about it before and nothing happened, so you’ve stopped trying? Many marriages break up over small misunderstandings which, when not resolved, become the proverbial “mountain out of a molehill.”
Misunderstandings are like small holes in a ship. Left unattended, they slowly allow enough resentment in to sink the relationship. They tear it apart from the inside. If not dealt with immediately, these small misunderstandings become such huge emotional conflicts that only an expert will be able to fix them.
It is very important to quickly clear up misunderstandings in a marriage. Following are some tips that may help.
1. Talk to your partner when they are most likely to listen to you. If your partner is irritated and angry, put the discussion off until they are relaxed and more open to a conversation.
2. Don’t accuse. When you talk, avoid blaming your spouse for what happened. They are most likely to quit listening as soon as they hear that. Instead, talk about what happened and how you can deal with it without blaming any one.
3. Talk from a third person point of view. When you talk about the situation, separate yourself and your spouse and view the problem from an outsider’s point of view. This way, there is less chance of a blame game and you will resolve the problem more quickly. You might even start the conversation with, “When we start this discussion, let’s talk about Bob and Sally having had this misunderstanding and discuss it like we were trying to help them resolve their problem. Then maybe we will see it from an outsider’s point of view.” Be careful not to pull blame into Bob and Sally’s discussion either!
4. Listen. The most important part of any conversation is listening. Listen to what your spouse has to say. Do not interrupt them when they are talking. Good listening is “half the battle won.” When your spouse is allowed the courtesy of bringing out what they want to discuss, they feel validated and will be more open to listening to you.
5. Apologize. If you are in the wrong, apologize to your spouse; however, if you feel that your partner is wrong, do not expect an apology. You can only control what is your own responsibility. If you apologize when you are wrong, you will probably find they will, too.
6. Act normal. Once you have cleared up the misunderstanding, act as you did before it started. Let go of the past, and do not attempt to make your spouse feel guilty.
Following these steps will not only help save, but it should strengthen your relationship going forward because you have learned what not to do when you miscommunicate. Yes, I said “when.” Humans miscommunicate, but it doesn’t have to become a conflict if you know how to clear the air.
Once done, you will feel it was worth the effort. You may feel that this compromise may lower your self-esteem or hurt your ego, but the exact opposite is true. Initiating such a conversation will not only increase your self-respect, but it will also raise your spouse’s respect for you.
These communications techniques not only work in marital relationships, but when misunderstandings occur in any of your family or business relationships, make the same effort to clear the air immediately.