9 Marriage Exercises to Improve Communication

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Embarking on the journey of marriage is exciting, but sometimes, the road can get a little bumpy, especially when it comes to communication.

This article explores different types of communication that can hinder effective dialogue in marriages.

Incorporating nine practical exercises, it provides couples with actionable strategies to enhance their communication skills.

Whether you're newlyweds or seasoned partners, these exercises will help foster a deeper connection, paving the way for a stronger, more fulfilling marital relationship. 


Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
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Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Colorado
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Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
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Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
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1. Free Writing

Free writing involves each partner taking a moment to write down their thoughts and feelings without any concern for grammar or punctuation.

The aim is to let thoughts flow freely and capture them on paper. This process allows for raw emotions, thoughts, and ideas to surface without the fear of judgment or criticism.

By sharing these writings with each other, couples can gain a deeper understanding of each other's perspectives, fears, hopes, and dreams.

It encourages open and honest dialogue, fostering a stronger bond and better communication between partners.


2. Mirroring

The concept of mirroring revolves around accurately reflecting back what your partner has said, instead of responding with your own thoughts or feelings.

This exercise involves listening carefully to your partner's words and then repeating them back in your own words to confirm your understanding.

It's not about parroting their words exactly, but rather paraphrasing to demonstrate that you're truly grasping their point of view.

When we mirror our partner's words, we show them that we are genuinely trying to understand their perspective, not just waiting for our turn to speak.



3. Emotional Word Check-Ins

Regularly ask your partner about their emotional state, allowing them to express their feelings freely.

It could be as simple as asking "How are you feeling today?" or "What emotions are you experiencing right now?".

By creating a safe space for your partner to share their feelings, you demonstrate that their emotions are valid and important to you.

This not only helps you understand your partner better but also fosters a deeper emotional connection between you two.

However, emotional word check-ins should be approached with sensitivity and respect. It's crucial to listen actively and respond empathetically when your partner shares their feelings.


4. Positive Language

Use words and phrases that convey respect, appreciation, and encouragement when interacting with your partner.

For instance, instead of saying "You always forget to do the dishes," try reframing it positively: "I really appreciate it when you help out with the dishes."

Or "You never spend time with me," you could say, "I miss spending quality time with you. Could we plan a date night this week?"

Positive language isn't about sugarcoating issues or avoiding difficult conversations. It's about approaching these situations with a constructive attitude, focusing on solutions rather than problems. 


5. Feeling Blank

The technique of "feeling blank" is a communication strategy that emphasizes expressing your own feelings and experiences without resorting to blaming or criticizing your partner.

This approach encourages you to use "I" statements instead of "you" statements.

For example, rather than saying, "You never listen to me," you might say, "I feel ignored when I'm trying to express my thoughts."

This reframing shifts the focus from your partner's perceived faults to your feelings, promoting a more open and less defensive conversation. 


6. Prediction Method

The prediction method is a strategy often used in relationships to anticipate how your partner might react to certain situations or news.

It involves using your knowledge and understanding of your partner's personality, preferences, and past behaviors to predict their potential responses.

This can aid in effective communication as it allows you to tailor your approach based on what you believe would be the most receptive or least confrontational.

For instance, if you know your partner tends to get defensive when criticized directly, you might opt for a more gentle, constructive approach when addressing issues.



7. Show Appreciation

Express gratitude for your partner's actions, words, or presence, both verbally and non-verbally.

Verbal gestures of appreciation can include saying "thank you" for everyday tasks, complimenting your partner, or expressing gratitude for their support during challenging times.

Non-verbal gestures can be as simple as a warm hug, a loving smile, or even a thoughtful gift.

These gestures may seem small, but they have a tremendous impact on making the other person feel valued and loved.


8. Have Creative Debates

This involves picking a topic of mutual interest and having an open, respectful debate about it.

The goal is not necessarily to win the argument, but rather to explore different perspectives, challenge each other's thinking, and learn more about each other's viewpoints.

These debates can range from light-hearted topics like "Who is the best superhero?" to more serious ones like "What are the solutions to climate change?".

The key is to keep the conversation respectful, listen to each other's points of view, and be open to changing your own perspective.


9. Games, Conversation Prompts, Journaling, and Art Projects

Games, whether they're board games or video games, offer a fun, relaxed environment where couples can interact, cooperate, and even engage in friendly competition.

This can stimulate conversation and laughter, fostering a stronger connection.

Conversation prompts, on the other hand, can be a valuable tool in encouraging deeper, more meaningful discussions.

They can assist couples in exploring topics they might not usually discuss, thereby broadening their understanding of each other.

Journaling and art projects provide additional avenues for expression and connection. Couples can journal together, sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which can lead to better mutual understanding and empathy.

Similarly, collaborating on art projects allows couples to express themselves creatively while working towards a common goal, which can enhance teamwork and cooperation.


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Conclusion

Clear and consistent communication forms the bedrock of a robust, thriving marital relationship

By learning about the diverse styles of communication and recognizing typical stumbling blocks, partners can enhance their conversational prowess and sidestep potential miscommunications. 

The enhancement of communication isn't a single event but rather an ongoing process. 

Through sustained patience, consistent practice, and unwavering persistence, you and your spouse can foster greater comprehension, paving the way for a more rewarding and satisfying partnership.

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July 20th, 2024

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