Friday, January 15, 2016

Communication

communication, blended family, marriage communication, stepmoms, step mothers, stepmom advice
Great communication is definitely one of the keys to being in a successful blended marriage and family.  A lack of communication in a marriage is a serious problem in many marriages today and we need to overcome it.  Holding things inside really can affect our health.  Serious health problems can result in women who keep things inside such as developing irritable bowel syndrome, depression and even eating disorders.  We need to learn about when is a good time to communicate with our husbands. But first I will tell you when the worst time is. The worst time is when you are mad and tempers are enraged. You first need to cool down and collect your thoughts first.  Never, I mean NEVER have a heated conversation in front of the kids, especially if it involves their mother or if it’s about them.  When children hear arguments they tend to get scared and feel insecure and unsafe.  They will even start to hate one of the parents, if not both parents and it sometimes forces the children to take sides.  Heated arguments can be terrifying for children and it’s something they won’t forget and always remember. Don’t put your children through that.
We need to learn when the best time to communicate with our husbands.  The best time I have found is when the kids are in bed for the night but before you go to bed for the night. Pick a place where it’s far enough away from where the kids are sleeping. That way if the conversation gets heated the kids won’t hear it.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to communicate and tell him how you are doing and feeling.  Don’t keep it all inside.  If you feel you need to discuss something with someone else before discussing it with your husband seek out a best friend or a support stepmom group.  Sometimes it is good to seek out advice on how to approach our husbands before we actually have the conversation with them.  That way we can make sure we are not coming off too harshly or insensitive.  Because when it’s about their kids, for example, our husbands tend to get defensive and angry about it.  We need to find new ways to make the conversation less heated when it comes to talking with him about his kids.
I know personally from experience that anytime I brought up my stepchildren in conversation with my husband he would always get very defensive.  I finally realized one day that I was approaching the topic wrong and that I wasn’t starting the conversation outright. Have you done this before too?

We need to understand that men and women communicate differently from one another. For instance, us women like to discuss problems until they are resolved and worked out. Whereas men, would like steer far away from conflict at all costs.
We need to learn how to talk to our husbands it’s all in the way we start off the conversation is the key to having a less heated discussion.  How do we do that? Well, first off we have to use “I feel” messages along with an adjective which describes how we feel. For example, I feel hurt and unaccepted when my stepdaughter refuses to cooperate for family pictures.  Refrain from using these words: You, Never, Always, and Ever. These words bring out the defense mechanism in our husbands.  Did you know that when our husbands get defensive it means that they are fearful.  When they get defensive ask your husbands what they afraid of are right now.  Then after they tell you, reassure them that whatever it is, that it’s not going to happen. 
When communicating with our husbands if we tend to get where we are determined to win in the conversation or argument, that’s when things tend to get heated. When this happens we need to take a time-out to cool down.  It’s okay to table the conversation, sometimes we need the break before we say things out of hurt or anger that we don’t mean.
Sue Patron Thoele states that “when communication is defensive, dishonest, or closed, it becomes a black hole, sucking vitality from us and our relationships.  Many connections are severed and chasms created when couples communicate poorly with each other and/or their children. “  We need to learn how to communicate constructively and not destructively.  Constructive communication is loving, helpful, thoughtful, and respectful.  Destructive communication is not thoughtful and it destroys the other person and makes them feel defensive and unsafe. In the book “The Courage to be a Stepmom” there are three crucial keys to communicating with our husbands.
The Three Crucial Keys are Loving, Listening, and Learning
  1. Come from Love and remain Grounded in love.
  2. Listen Deeply and Attentively from your heart.
  3. Learn to Understand your beloved and teach him to understand and listen to you. (Sue Patton Thoele; 2013)
I will break down the three crucial keys in more depth:

Loving – We need to be loving and positive in our conversation with our husbands and if we can’t be that way, we need to take a time-out to cool down. We all need to feel loved and to be understood and accepted. Keeping our communication loving will keep the communication lines clear and open.

Listening – When our husbands are communicating with us, make sure we clarify what they are saying every now and then during their conversation, but don’t interrupt them.  Out of love for them we need to be silent and listen to everything they have to say and try to understand it.

Learn – We learn what our husbands are saying when we clarify after we listen to them talk. Don’t make assumptions of what you heard, clarify it.  It’s only then when we listen and clarify that we understand one another. When we learn from one another is when we are providing emotional support which will make our marriage thrive and grow.
There are Hard Topics that are the tough conversation to have with our husbands. The Hard Topics are the kids, money, the ex’s, discipline, sex, hurt feelings, in-laws, and competition.  When we talk about these hard topics we need to make sure we start off using our “I feel” messages in order to communicate effectively.  Having an effective and constructive communication reduces the friction in a marriage. The most important things to remember is having healthy communication equals a healthy marriage. Don’t keep it all inside your only hurting your health and your marriage in the long run. So, communicate, communicate and communicate, but do it constructively.



References:
Sue Patton Thoele (2013). The Courage to be a Stepmom. Finding your place without losing yourself. 

9 comments:

  1. Great ideas. We always have to understand that sometimes there will be disagreements, but that doesn't mean the love has disappeared.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Communication is definitely one of the most basic needs for success in relationships. My husband and I try to keep the flow open, but I think it's a little bit harder for him since he's not much of a talker. Sometimes I have to provide the opportunity for him to share what he's needing so it can come out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Using "I Feel" is a great marriage tip. It doesn't matter who's wrong or right, sometimes it is just that an action is hurting the other person's feelings or making them feel a certain way. In your example, your husband may not know what to do about his daughter not participating in photos, but just to acknowledge that it hurts your feelings is a good start.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Communication is definitely a big piece to the relationship puzzle, really in any type of relationship. I work on active listening and other communication skills with my class often. It's important to teach those skills early on in life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm not a step mom, but after following your blog, I love that you pour your heart and soul into each post you write and give actionable advice that can be used by all parents and spouses, regardless if they are in a blended family or not.

    ReplyDelete
  6. not just in blended familiaries. ALL families could use help in improving their communications skills!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really enjoyed reading this blog post... I've read a few in the past, but this one peaked my interest the most. I've been through a divorce, and one of the main reasons was due to the lack of communication... ended growing apart.
    Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Communication really is key. We forget how bad it can be to hold in our emotions. Then we have other problems to deal with as well. Most problems can be solved by talking it out and a little hard work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Communication is important in any relationship. That's something that helps you understand each other better. It's just that you also have to learn how to communicate with your partner the right way.

    ReplyDelete