Ep 95 – How to re-engage in communication

Hey guys, welcome back! Let’s talk about communication. This episode will have some communication tips but I really want to focus more on getting the habit of communication re-started or re-structured in your marriage. But I have plenty of episodes that are full of more specific communication tips. You can check out ep. 29 titled My Top Five Communication Tips or Ep. 70 titled The Formula for Effective Communication. I’ll link both of those for you in the show notes.

In my paid program, one of the first things I do is help my client establish a structured communication time with their partner. This should be weekly. Before I tell you how to do it, let me tell you why it’s so important and why it needs to be done this often.

As you go through your days and your weeks, you have all kinds of thoughts and feelings towards your partner. If you don’t have a safe space to practice communicating those thoughts and feelings, guess what happens? That’s right, you push them down. They get swept under the rug and create pressure and resentment. Then, because you’re not talking about these thoughts and feelings, you start making up how they think and feel about you! You see, the brain cannot deal with uncertainty. It just can’t. So, if you don’t’ know how your partner is thinking or feeling about something, your brain will just fill in that blank.

And how does your brain know what to fill in? Well, it takes all your insecurities and past experiences and creates a story based on those things. That’s no fun for anyone.

I recently heard about a study done amongst married couples. They were asked to finish their partner’s sentence or thought and almost none of them got it right. We think that we know what our partner is thinking because humans always assume that others are thinking like they are. But no one thinks like you do. Your thought process is made up of a unique set of beliefs and experiences.

So, if you are not communicating, you are essentially in different relationships. I have a whole podcast episode on that topic as well. It’s ep. 89 titled Are You and Your Partner in Different Relationships? And spoiler alert, if you’re not talking regularly then the answer is yes.

So, how do you implement regularly scheduled, structured communication time with your partner? I was struck by a client I was coaching who said that asking her partner for communication was a big step. I was like “what! How many people has he seen come out of your vagina??” She laughed and said “three.” I was so amused that years of marriage plus three kids but asking for communication was a big step! Isn’t that so fascinating? It just speaks to how scary communication can be for some of us.

And why is it so scary? Because when you communicate about how you’re thinking and feeling, it requires vulnerability. Which is really scary because being vulnerable puts you in the position to possibly feel rejected or unheard. That’s very uncomfortable. But I have decided that I am willing to communicate vulnerably purely for the sake of being someone who shows up authentically and is committed to my own growth. How my partner responds is their business. If vulnerability is hard for you, check out ep. 32 titled How To Be Vulnerable With Your Partner.

Ok so lets get on to the technical piece here, which is you have to schedule communication in. Especially if you are in a busy season of life with kids. We are willing to schedule in doctors appointments, coffee with friends, massages, and whatever else. So why wouldn’t we schedule in time to work on our marriage?

So step 1 is go to your partner and ask for a scheduled day and time. Say something like “I really want to start connecting with you more deeply but we’re so busy that communication is hard so let’s schedule it in. How about every Wednesday night after the kids go down?” Or something like that. Then put it on the damn calendar. With reminders. Treat it with the importance that it holds.

Ok so then a lot of you are probably asking yourself, how the hell do we start these conversations? Especially if you find that you and your partner are barely communicating at all and maybe haven’t in years. I actually see that all the time! Couples are talking about logistics for the kids and for dinner but not about what’s going on for them under the surface.

Step 2: Provide a feel-good lubricant to get things started. So the first scheduled communication session should be something that’s focused primarily on feeling good. I like to have the couple each come to this session with a written list of things they appreciate about each other. This takes the pressure off that first talk. Everyone knows what’s happening and no one is apprehensive about something scary coming up. Then you read your list to each other and exchange them. Session one in the books!

Step 3: Get deeper on the second one. I have a worksheet I give my clients that each partner uses to prep for the talk. This keeps it structured. I have them come in having answered three specific questions and then read those answers to each other. That sheet and that method is part of my paid program but I would be happy to send it to you for free if you email me at Elana@nullpartnershipaligned.com. The questions take care of the whole “how do we do this” thing.

Step 4: Stay consistent!! This is so important! It’s so tempting to skip a week or put it off when you’re tired but try your best to make it happen. Things happen of course, especially if you have little ones, but you have to make this a priority. So if you absolutely have to cancel, make sure to reschedule it right then and there.

There is an energy behind this. When you and your partner prioritize time to check in with each other, not only does the relationship get deeper and closer but you are signaling to each other and to yourselves that you make your marriage a priority. That’s its important. That you are important to each other. This matters.

Ok one last things I want to say. If you are scared and nervous to put this into place, I hear you. You’re not alone, this is anxiety provoking for a lot of women. But here’s a mindset shift I want to offer you. You should actually be MORE scared of not putting this into place.

Lack of communication is often the direct reason for resentment, misunderstanding, disconnect, and hostility. This is not something you can afford to skip. Ok so if you’re afraid, just bring the fear along with you. Do it afraid. Do it for you, for your partner, and for your kids.

Your kids need to witness a relationship that includes communication – otherwise they will grow up looking for a relationship that doesn’t include it. This is bigger than you.

Ok, ladies, I am going to be teaching a free masterclass later this month about how to create the sex life you crave! More details to come but just wanted to give you a heads up that if your sex life is not up to par, we are going to dig into that and learn how to create it! So keep your eyes and ears out for that. If you want to make sure to stay up to date, you can follow me on Instagram @partnershipaligned