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November 5, 2012

Good Communication Is The Key To a Loving, Trusting Marriage

by guest blogger Liam Hamer

Trust and good communication are two of the most important aspects of a successful marriage. In fact, it could be said that you can't have one without the other. Without these things, marriage can be an uphill battle. There can be niggling doubts in the back of your mind about your spouse. Where are they? What are they doing? Similarly, you can also wonder if what they say to you when you talk to each other is true and that they are being honest about your relationship. And because there is a lack of good communication, you may find it difficult to express yourself properly to them.

Lack of trust in a marriage doesn't necessarily mean that one or both partners are untrustworthy, or have said or done anything to make the other wary. Other factors outside of the marriage, and indeed prior to the marriage, can contribute to it too. Upbringing, previous relationships and self esteem issues to name but three can all factor into things.

What is the best way to go about building or regaining trust?

Being able to communicate properly is absolutely vital. Getting to a place where you understand where the other is coming from is half the battle when it comes to making marriage work. Of course, marriage should never be "a battle". There are always times when it is going to be challenging, though. And that goes for every single couple out there. I have been married over 10 years and we've had our fair share of trials and tribulations. That's life. Striving for perfection in fine, as long as you accept that you will never reach it.

Truly knowing each other is a great feeling. Yes, there will always be things about each other that we aren't crazy about and would maybe like to change. For example, I wish my wife would pick up after herself a bit more! On the other hand, she wishes I wouldn't nag so much! But these things are part of what makes us who we are.

When the subject of trust comes up, it might conjure up thoughts of people wondering if their partners are being unfaithful, whether they lie to them, whether they are who they say they are. That is all quite extreme (although one could be forgiven for thinking like that, with the way marriage can be portrayed in the media and on TV etc.) No, what I'm talking about here is more a case of "Do I trust this person to do the best for me, the best for our marriage?" Getting to that point is a wonderful thing, because it doesn't always come naturally. And of course, you can be at that point, and something can set you back again, so regaining that mindset is a great achievement and means you have both done really well.

I am of the opinion that good communication precedes trust. I'd even go as far to say that positive communication is the number one skill required in marriage. Certainly in my experience, anyway. If you get that right, everything falls into place and the rest will follow. Even if right now you and your spouse don't communicate as well as you'd like, it's something that you can work on. Here are a few tried and tested tips:

1. When explaining your feelings on something specific about your spouse and/or their behavior, say "I feel" instead of things like "You don't....", "I really wish you would....", "Why can't you...." etc.

2. Take on board what your spouse says, try not to be offended or frustrated by it. Once you have identified any problem areas together, you are on the way to resolving them.

3. This one should go without saying, but don't raise your voice or use profanities. There really is no upside to this. Yes, it shows them that you are frustrated, and even passionate, but there are better ways of expressing yourself that can get the same message across.

If you do have some internal issues and insecurities (which may or may not be to do with your marriage) then try your best to overcome them. Answer the 'what ifs'. Like this, for example:

Q "What if our marriage doesn't work?"

A "As long as we both gave it our best shot, then I guess it wasn't meant to be. I will have no regrets and will still be capable of living a happy and fulfilling life."

Q "What if they cheat on me?"

A "If they are going to cheat on you, then they are going to cheat on you. Worrying about it won't make it not happen. But why think like this? Cross that bridge if you ever come to it, and the chances are, you won't anyway. Especially if you really work on things."

Q "What if they fall out of love with me?"

A "Even if, at some point, they say that, it may not be the case and you can work on things together. If it IS the case, then you are a strong person and will move forward."

Those examples are quite dramatic, but it can be difficult having those kinds of thoughts running through your mind. We are all human, and we all worry from time to time.

It really is better to trust. That doesn't mean you should think your spouse can do no wrong, but rather you are safe in the knowledge that you are both doing your best for your marriage, and making the most of your life together. Again - good communication precedes trust. A marriage with both is something you should be immensely proud of, and something to strive for if you don't.

If communication and trust are two of the problem areas in your marriage, start working on the things above today. Even if it's just not raising your voice during an argument. Or answering those niggling "what ifs". It's a big step in the right direction.

Copyright © 2011 Liam Hamer. Reprinted with permission.

Liam married young and has been through all the ups and downs that marriage brings. He uses that experience, together with a strong desire to help others at his site Marriage Advice Online.

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