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You've managed to work out a fitness plan for other areas of your life such as diet, exercise, friendships, finances, etc. But what about the fitness of your relationship?

Take TURNS — Communication Skills

Being able to communicate with one another is very important when fostering healthy relationships. Even if you and your spouse have been together a long time and have a close relationship, there will still be communication issues that surface from time to time. Couples need to learn how to communicate and listen to one another more effectively.

Dealing with feelings

We all experience different emotions throughout the day. If something is troubling you, learn how to communicate your concern to your spouse, instead of keeping things to yourself. If you keep thing bottled up inside of you, it can have damaging consequences. Letting things sit and fester, can lead to bitterness and hostility that could easily have been avoided if you just express what is going on. There is bound to be conflict in any relationship but this does not have to be a big problem. How conflict is handled, will make the difference and can bring people together or tear them apart. Frequent disagreements, misunderstandings, and an inability to communicate effectively can cause anger, bitterness, and distance in a relationship. Knowing how to communicate more effectively can create a more positive outcome.

Express Yourself Clearly and Respectfully

Sometimes when we are upset, angry, or hurt we are unable to express our feelings respectfully. The pain or anger speaks for us, and we end up saying things to hurt each other and worsen the situation. This makes it even more difficult to learn how to communicate with your spouse. Take a deep breath before you voice your concerns or issues. If you feel that this is not enough, then spend a few minutes alone to calm down before you speak. This will help you avoid saying something you'll regret later. State what is on your mind without yelling or calling your spouse names, or placing undue blame on them. Express yourself clearly and respectfully. If you practice this approach, your spouse will be less likely to get defensive and more willing to listen and work things out with you.

Listen Carefully and Actively

As we carry out each day, we experience a lot of fears, anxieties, resentments, emotions, and problems. We need an outlet to release that eases the load and allows us to work through our feelings and thoughts. Recognizing this need is crucial to learning how to listen to and communicate with your spouse. Here are a few more pointers:
• Try not to judge. A person will not share what's on their mind unless they feel accepted and know that you will listen without judgment.
• Recognize that sometimes people just want to be heard. You don't always have to find a solution. Sometimes, it is enough to just listen to your spouse. While they may want advice, more often than not, people just need to vent. Become an active listener so you will be able to determine whether they are seeking solutions or just an ear to listen.
• Be interested and sympathetic. Anything that concerns your spouse should concern you. If the situation was reversed, decide what you would want from your spouse, and then engage yourself as the best listener you can be.

Start actively listening to what your mate is saying. Respond appropriately with loving, caring words. If it is within your power to do so, find ways to meet any needs that they verbalize. This shows that you are really paying attention to things that are important to your mate.

Strengthen Your Relationship by Taking TURNS

Trust
Unity
Respect
Nurture
Support

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When Dealing With Conflict

Talk
Unify
Recognize
Neutralize
Strategize

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