One piece of advice we’ve found ourselves telling couples lately is that we need to coach or train our spouse to love us and understand us. We’re not putting them down. It’s the reality of two different people living in an intimate relationship where being on the same page is important. Our spouse is unlikely to really get us unless we coach them on how we think and how we receive love.
Let’s start with understanding. We all want to be heard but more importantly, understood. Just communicating your thoughts, needs, desires and frustrations isn’t enough. It’s important that your communication progresses into a grasp of what you mean.
Any two people are not going to communicate and love in exactly the same “language”. There will sometimes be an assumption, a body language miscue, selective hearing or lack of clarity. And this is compounded when there’s emotion involved!
Some of these challenges evaporate over time as, through conversation, intimacy and a growing relationship, you naturally understand and connect with each other better. But it’s never without effort, communication and clarifying any potential misunderstandings along the way.
Start with meaning what you say and saying what you mean. It’s surprising how effective this little quip is. By shifting what we are saying to how we mean it we actually clean up a lot of communication fallout.
Then, when the need to be understood is high, ask them (kindly) to tell you what they hear you saying. Or, if you’re on the receiving end of some potentially important news or instruction repeat it back to them for further clarity. “Ok, so what I’m hearing you say is this…”
Back and forth dialogue to get on the same page breaks down communication barriers and filters and helps you learn to understand your spouse. In this way, you are training each other to get you and know you.
It’s somewhat similar when it comes to love. Because it’s all about communicating what makes you feel loved and what doesn’t. Sometimes your spouse can expend an incredible amount of energy, money and time on loving you in a way that simply doesn’t fill your love tank. What a waste of life! Haha.
Talk about what DOES make you feel loved. Help your spouse understand what they can do to fill you up, to make you FEEL loved, appreciated, accepted and valued.
A good place to start is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Once you’ve worked those out keep communicating and sharing your specific needs and desires in the love language that you have.
Then it’s just a matter of loving your spouse how they feel loved (so much more efficient!) and communicating along the way!
Train your spouse to love you. To understand you. Don’t assume they get it. That’s part of the journey of love and marriage… ‘getting’ each other in deeper levels the longer you are together. It’s an enlightening journey which can be enjoyed!