When you are used to being with someone every day, it can be easy to fall into a routine. And forget how to really communicate with each other. But there is a simple method that you can use to communicate with your husband in a more productive way. Grab your free worksheet to improve communication in your marriage from the Resource Library.
The 4 T’s of Communication
The 4 T’s of communication is a simple method to improve your communication skills with anyone, but I like it most for loved ones. I think it is best to apply to your family so that you are able to have productive conversations on topics that can be tough. Keeping in mind all 4 T’s of communication will help you to communicate with your husband better.
This seems pretty straightforward. And we have all talked with others about it not being the ‘right time’ to have THAT conversation when it comes to something that can be difficult. But this goes a little deeper than that. If you ask yourself a few simple questions about timing, you will be able to feel better prepared to have hard or important conversations with your husband.
- Is this a good time to bring this up? Are we in an appropriate place? Is the environment correct for the conversation? Do we have enough time to work through the entire conversation?
- Am I emotionally prepared to have a discussion about the issue? So that I can use effective listening skills and not let my emotions overcome me?
- Is this the right time for my husband? Is he going to be able to hear what I am saying? Is he dealing with something else that is of more importance or that may affect how he accepts this topic?
You’ve heard people say that it was not what you said, but how you said it. I know you have. If from no one else, from your Mom. But it is true. If you think back to a conversation you had with someone in which you walked away feeling offended, it was probably about HOW they said it. Not WHAT they said. Words themselves are not mean (as long as you are not name calling). But people can be. Ask yourself these questions before you begin a conversation and keep them at the front of your mind during conversations that are important to you. It will change the end results every time.
- What is the tone of my voice? Happy, mean, judgemental, demanding, etc.
- What is the tone of my body language? Open, standoffish, defensive, etc.
- What is the current tone of our relationship? Are we in a good place or we in some rocky waters?
- What is the tone of the environment we are in?
There are a lot of ways to approach a difficult subject. You can think you are just being honest, but it can be detrimental if you are using poor word choice or making accusations. Even if they are not meant to be that way. Keep in mind the way you are speaking so that you can communicate with your husband about important things better.
- Am I using a compliment sandwich to give criticism? Give a compliment followed by a constructive remark, followed by a compliment. Example. “You are a good Dad when you come home and greet the kids right away, but sometimes you don’t acknowledge all the effort I put into cleaning up the kitchen before you get home so we can cook dinner. And I do love it when you dive right in and help with cooking dinner.”
- Am I avoiding using definitive words like “always” and “never” when describing how I feel?
- Am I accepting responsibility and blame when deserved for my shortcomings? And not only blaming my husband or playing the victim?
It is important to understand that this is not just about being honest and truthful. But it is making sure that you are keeping opinions out of the conversation. It should be about how you feel. As well as the fact that you need to understand that your husband is sharing how he feels about things. Just because someone feels disrespected or ignored, does not mean they think that was your goal or that you are disrepectful. But rather that you need to know that you may be coming across that way when you are not meant to. And accepting that truth will help you to communicate with your husband better in the future.
- Is it possible for me to learn something from this and apply it to my life?
- Is what he is saying a truth that I need to hear? Even though his timing, tone, or technique may be off?
- Is what I am saying a truth? Not an opinion?
If you want to communicate with your husband better, using the 4 T’s of Communication can be a great way to start. Even if you are not perfect at it in the beginning, and trust me you won’t be. You will still benefit just by learning them and what they are. Eventually, having a conversation using this method will feel very natural to you and your husband. Don’t forget to grab your FREE worksheet to improve communication in your marriage from the Resource Library