What You Say
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.”
— Oscar Wilde (poet)
Build a foundation of trust.
Agree that if either of you ever say “do you promise” after a questions is asked that nothing but the truth will follow… no matter how tough the question is. You both need to agree that it’s okay to share even the hardest things with each other.
Know the power of your words.
The way you phrase things to her can make all the difference. Try to focus on the positive aspects of a difficult situation, and build from there.
Make communication a conversation.
Don’t just dump information on her. Be sure to provide opportunities for her to ask questions (ex. One of my co-workers mentioned something really interesting to me today…)
Don’t talk like you’re placing an order.
Phrase your communication in a way that not only tells her want you want, but does it in a way that also asks for her permission. (ex. How do you feel about going to a movie tonight?).
Discuss the importance of time with friends.
It’s healthy to have some relationships and activities that are not shared. Spending time with other people and doing other things helps you appreciate the time you do spend together.
Share why you need some alone time.
Make it VERY clear that you’re not making excuses to spend time apart from her. Before scheduling this kind of time, have a conversation about how important it is for both of you to have this, and the best way to ask for it.
Never lie to avoid a fight.
Doing this will just make you distant, and potentially create a future disagreement that gets blown way out of proportion due to unresolved feelings.
Don’t just apologize after an argument.
Instead of feeling good about being the bigger person just because you were the first one to say “I’m sorry”, try asking her why she was frustrated. Knowing this should help to alleviate everything instead of just sweeping it under the rug.
Ask really good questions.
Don’t just limit it to work, but include questions about what’s been on her mind. Make time for this every day.
Discuss how to handle working with opposite sex co-workers.
This includes working late hours, traveling or even working over lunch. These are all very common, so let your wife know when these activities will be happening. Also, talk about the steps you plan to take in order to keep it “strictly business”. This will build a lot of trust in the relationship.
Share all your mistakes with her, and genuinely ask for forgiveness.
This shows her that you can recognize and openly admit your faults, which will enable your relationship to continue in a positive direction.
Establish your married relationship as a “new” family.
Talk over the details together, and communicate your feelings right away with each of your parents. This will help establish necessary boundaries with them, and show how serious you are about making your relationship a top priority.
Share what you’re in charge of managing.
Be sure to share what you feel needs to be done to effectively manage each task, as well as including her when any major decisions need to be made.
Talk each night.
Each of you should take the time to share your day, what’s on your mind (especially the intimate details) and include some talk about a fun activity you will be doing together in the future. Try to do this when you first get home, or on a walk after dinner. It’s really important to reconnect this way.
Maintain a healthy level of interest.
If the interest level of the listener is fading, it’s probably because they don’t know the point of the conversation. If you both try to share the main point of your story first (then offer the supporting details), it should increase the listener’s level of interest.