Ask Dr. Lisa
How to Break Down Communication Walls and Build Bridges in Your Marriage
Are you and your spouse struggling to find common ground?
In light of your professional success, you may find it difficult to accept the challenges in your marriage. Many executives believe it is easier to separate their home life from their work life — often at the expense of their personal relationships.
The first step in improving your communication is awareness.
The next steps lie in the way you and your spouse handle the tension in your relationship. Your response will dictate whether your marriage becomes constructive or destructive.
As an executive marriage advisor, I’ve spent decades working with high-power couples who believe their marriage is deteriorating. I have found that far too often, blame, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling lead to divorce.
If these patterns have become the norm for you, know that you can change your situation. I have seen countless couples turn their marriage around by breaking down the communication walls and building bridges in their relationship.
You can absolutely strengthen your marriage with the right mindset. The following communication tips promote positive interactions:
- Instead of blaming your spouse, accept what they are saying without jumping to conclusions.
- Instead of feeling contempt, think about why you respect and appreciate them.
- Instead of stonewalling your spouse, embrace their vulnerability. Give them the opportunity to understand what you are thinking by extending them the same courtesy.
When you uncover the power of your actions, you and your spouse can choose to change your behaviors and improve your marriage. The choice is yours.
You can decide to speak honestly with your spouse.
You can decide to stop keeping your work private, and start sharing your thoughts and fears with your partner.
You can decide to bare your soul to your spouse, and treat them like your best friend.
You can decide to stop focusing on the superficial components of your relationship.
You can decide to talk TO your spouse rather than THROUGH them.
That said, you must take responsibility for your actions in order to make progress. To improve your communication, focus on making a joint effort to change your habits and mindset.
Dr. Lisa Webb is at the Body & Mind Consulting Associates Group.
For more information on using key business strategies to cultivate a healthy marriage, get your copy of The Executive Marriage Solution.