Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Marriage: Communication

A few weeks back Jordan and I did our first engaged couples conference presentation. The engaged couples conference is mandatory if you are being married in the Catholic church. It is an afternoon full of presentations on different aspects of marriage. I remember ours and remember hoping that one day Jordan and I would be asked to present. I am overwhelmed that our deacon asked us to join the presenters! Obviously Jordan and I have been marriage just 5 years so I cannot act or claim that we are experts. And honestly I am not sure anyone is an expert on the topic of marriage but we are all experts on what works for our OWN marriage! So I figured that I would sum up what we went over on the topic of Communication for our conference. 
We started off with a little introduction. The whole how we met. Jordan walked into the store Express which I was working at and I caught a glimpse of him! He was meeting my co-worker Harold for lunch and I knew that I wanted to meet him up close and personal. We had walkie talkies so I told someone to send them my way and I shyly introduced myself to this cute hunk! 
We decided to meet for dinner with friends to see if we had anything in common. Well long story short we have been together everyday since that dinner. Inseparable! We moved in after just a month of knowing eachother! It was one of those moments where you just knew this was the person! We lined up on moral views and also were super attracted to each other. Hello 4 children in 5 years. Jordan honestly is my other half. We are not at all alike in life. He is uber organized and a tad OCD where I am a messy not so organized person. I am super laid back and let things roll off my back quick where he holds onto things. We really do help each other and balance each other out! 

Anyways back to communication! 

You are TWO different people. 
I said it above that Jordan and I are different. We react and communicate completely different. That doesn't make one of us right or wrong. We are JUST different. You have to figure out each others communication style. I know what buttons to NOT push for Jordan and I respect those boundaries! I know when to back off and when to just let things simmer. I am always someone who wants a resolution NOW and I have learned that is not how it works. Accepting that you are different is HUGE for your communication. And fully accepting that. Not just saying you accept it, but actually wholeheartedly accepting it. Jordan gets quiet when he is upset, so instead of harping on him and creating drama and stress, I walk away. I used to be immature and push and all that caused was unneeded strain. So learn your spouses love language and how they communicate and RESPECT that. Do not try to change them to your line of thinking. Work together to figure out how to communicate best.  

Don't go to bed Angry.
I mean seriously. How many times have you heard that little tidbit of advice!? Some people think this is the best advice ever. We disagree. Assuming that you should be able to solve every argument before bed is just insane. Sometimes things TAKE TIME. One of my best friends told me to always give it 24 hours before reacting. At first I was annoyed and thought I knew best but when you really think about a disagreement or argument for a full 24 hours you might see the other persons side a little more clearly. Sometimes things just take time to resolve so stating that a couple should never go to bed angry is just silly in our opinion. Take your time. Think before you speak and act. There is NO time limit for these type of things so throw that advice away. 

COMMUNICATE.....TALK
Guess what??? Communicating means talking. Your spouse cannot read your mind so if you are upset talk to him!!  Instead of posting to Facebook or social media about how upset you are, tell the person you are upset with!!! Chances are sometimes they might not even know that you are upset. Instead of wishing they would change, how about telling them how you feel! You cannot change something without work. I told the story about when Vincent was a baby I used to get so frustrated that I was the only one changing diapers. When he had a dirty diaper I would change him and I felt like I was the only one doing it. I would get so annoyed with Jordan and be frustrated. But guess what I never asked Jordan to change Vincent and I never told him that I was annoyed. So it just built and built inside me. I was wasting time being annoyed when I easily could have just said "hey babe will you change this one". So now I have started asking for help vs just doing it and then getting annoyed that he wasn't helping. He had NO IDEA that I was annoyed. So just little silly things like that can add built up anger for no reason at all. So TALK. TALK. TALK!  
Don't Throw BRICKS. EVER. 
You know what buttons to push to set your spouse off. Don't push them. We all have buttons that just send us over the top so respect those boundaries. Do not disrespect them. Honestly I see people talk down to their spouses all the time and it hurts my heart. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We learned that as children right?? Well I swear as adults we are quick to throw that rule out of the book. You don't like when someone talks down to you right?? So why would you think it is okay to talk down to the one person you love? The one person you vowed to love your entire life? It's not okay. Sure you will be annoyed with your spouse at times but walk away. Jordan frustrates me at times and I will just go upstairs and when I get in our room I will say "gosh you can be such a jerk!" to the wall. Just saying it relieves my anger. But saying that to Jordan would do NOTHING. It would create unneeded drama! So put those bricks down my friends! Even if you want to throw them THINK about how you would feel if your husband said that to you. 

Practice EMPATHY. 
This is huge for every relationship. Put yourself in their shoes. Just like I mentioned about throwing bricks! How would you feel? Probably not too great. So think before acting! ALWAYS!!! Also ask your spouse daily how they are feeling. Ask how their day was. We all have tons of outside stress and getting to talk openly about that helps a ton. You need to be there for each other all the time. Jordan has crazy outside stressed that I don't have with his job. He is constantly weighed down with work stuff so obviously it is huge for me to ask him about work and look at things from his perspective! So always think about things from their shoes. 

There is no one stop shop answer for How To Communicate! This was something huge that we shared. We do not have all the answers. Honestly the way we communicate and get along will be completely different than the way you and your spouse do things. Just like raising children. We all do what works for us! So while it might be nice to get some outside help on your marriage sometimes that doesn't help. There is no handbook to perfect communication. You have to do what works for you guys! Every relationship is different. Do not compare your marriage to ANYONE ELSES. EVER! Learn your own special formula. Listen to your spouse and talk often! We have been married 5 years and are still learning the exact formula to our communication. And also PRAISE them when you can see they are working on things! Jordan has become much more open with me in talking and letting him know that I see that progress is huge and vice versa.  

And one last thing. Please don't throw your spouse under the bus. EVER. This is one thing I am so passionate about. Marriage takes work. Just because you said "I do" and vowed yourselves does not mean that it's all magical and fun! Marriage is amazing and so rewarding but you have to be open and give yourself fully. You are a team now. All the single mindsets need to exit your mind! Love your husband with all your heart and be open with them!!! 
 xoxo

2 comments:

  1. Love love love this advice! My husband and I are about to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary next month and we also fell fast in love - we were engaged after 6 short weeks of dating. 10 years and 3 kids later... :)

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  2. The couple that did our communication talk at our precana classes had been married for 55 years, they were a RIOT and offered some of your same advice. I love that the Catholic Church has us take precana classes, I think it's a great time to communicate with one another and really learn about marriage.

    The couple who did the communication talk also started off by explaining that NFP did not work for them, they had 7 kids in 9 years hahaha. I just thought it was a riot that they were so blunt! Sounds like you guys did an AMAZING job!

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