Communication is one of the key cornerstones of a happy family 😉
During a conflict, healthy communication isn’t always easy. In our marriage, Joy and I have tried to practice three useful skills that keep doors open to positive communication:
Avoid “you” statements. Conversations go south in a hurry when the “you always” or “you never” phrases are thrown in. “You” comments usually sound like blame and cause the communication doors to slam shut. A positive alternative is “I feel” statements.
Make a critique sandwich. Clear communication involves the uncomfortable task of critique. Critique, in its best sense, simply means to evaluate. But it’s all too easy to become harsh in our evaluation; when that happens, critique mutates into cutting criticism, resulting in damaging arguments.
By serving a critique sandwich – where you place a tasty compliment on either side of the critique – you create hearty communication filled with nicely flavoured words and a positive evaluation aimed at growth.
Restate your positive intent. When negative emotions escalate to dangerous levels, beware of giving the impression that your sole purpose in communicating is to wound. If you really want to heal instead of hurt, why not say so?
In the middle of a discussion that starts to head in a hurtful direction, you could say something like, “Before we go on, I’d like to say that I don’t want this one issue to overshadow all the good things that I love about you.” And it wouldn’t hurt to name a few!
By using “I feel” statements, making critique sandwiches and restating your intent, you can open doors to positive communication, mutual understanding and a happy, thriving marriage.
This article was published with permission from Focus on the Family Malaysia. If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources at www.family.org.my