You can change communication patterns in a marriage by changing the way you talk with your partner. Here are some rules of communication that will improve your relationship.
1. Use "active listening". For example, If your partner says, "I don’t care much for your family", repeat back to him or her "You find it hard to care much for my family." This may lead your partner to add, "They're always indifferent toward me." Then you reply, "You think they're always indifferent to you." Active listening encourages communication because the person feels understood. Repeating your partner’s statements does not mean that you agree with them. Active listening is also called mirroring or reflective listening. Ask is there more about that? Encourage full expression of your partner’s thoughts and feelings. How can I be of help to you about this? Listen and reflect back again. When he or she feels understood, it’s your turn to be listened to about this issue.
2. Stick to one issue at a time and choose specific current issues that can be resolved. The past is over; stick to issues that can be changed. This is not easy to do. Write down the issues you each want to address. Pick the top one or two and agree to limit your conversation. These must be current issues and ones you can change.
3. Use "I feel" or “I think...” statements when you talk with your partner rather than saying "You did…" or "You said…" Be clear in communicating what it is that you want. Don't try to change or take responsibility for him or her. Think of what you can do to change the situation.
4. Look for unique solutions. Often couples doing battle think there are only two solutions to every issue - my way and your way. Most issues can be resolved in many different ways. Find solutions that satisfy you both. Think outside the box.
For example, your partner may want to go to Myrtle Beach on a vacation while you prefer Chicago. If you list what you like about Chicago and your partner lists what he or she likes about Myrtle Beach, you may then decide that either Tampa or San Diego which are large cities but also have beaches, will satisfy both of you. Remember, also that in a marital fight you either both win or you both lose.
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 The Message